Nielsen, who was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, but was raised in the Northwest Territories, might be best known for his spoof comedies that started with “Airplane” in 1980 and continued with “The Naked Gun” series as well as other oddball comedies. These earned him the nickname “the Olivier of Spoof,” as Roger Ebert once pegged him.
Nielsen’s signature timing and double entendres were unforgettable and he’ll be sorely missed. According to Wikipedia, work had begun on a fourth installment of “The Naked Gun,” which was supposed to be released in 2012. Nielsen told the BBC in May that he’s “heard about” plans for the fourth film in the franchise but that he was “not involved in it.”
Nielsen began acting in the 1950s and has more dramatic roles in “Forbidden Planet” and “The Poseidon Adventure” before turning to comedy.
He remained active until very recently, performing on stage and voicing animated characters.
“I’m afraid if I don’t keep moving, they’re going to catch me … I am 81 years old and I want to see what’s around the corner, and I don’t see any reason in the world not to keep working,” Nielsen told the Vancouver Sun in 2007 (according to Wikipedia). “But I am starting to value my down time a great deal because I am realizing there might be other things to do that I am overlooking.”
Here are a couple of our favorite Nielsen moments: