[[quoteright:350:[[Film/{{Airplane}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/img-101128-leslie-nielson_225656528596_1019.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"He ''is'' serious. And don't call him Shirley."]]

->''"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. 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."''
-->-- '''Leslie Nielsen''' (reflecting on his career)

Leslie William Nielsen (February 11, 1926 November 28, 2010) was a Canadian-born actor and comedian. Originally trained at Toronto's Neighborhood Playhouse, he first became known as a dramatic lead debuting in ''The Vagabond King''. Though the movie wasn't a success, Nielsen soon achieved fame as Commander John J. Adams in ''Film/ForbiddenPlanet'', and subsequently starred in many films and television shows as a romantic or dramatic leading man.

He is, however, best known for [[LeslieNielsenSyndrome his comedic career]], starting with a CastingGag role in ''Film/{{Airplane}}'', where [[TheComicallySerious his deadpan delivery in the face of nonstop absurdity stole the film.]] The film's success rejuvenated his career, and Nielsen soon found himself starring in other comic works, most notably ''Series/PoliceSquad'' and ''Film/TheNakedGun''. All together, he has appeared in over a hundred films and 1,500 television programs, and was so well-loved as a comical actor that Creator/RogerEbert gave him the AffectionateNickname "Creator/LaurenceOlivier of spoofs".

In many of his comedic roles, he grew somewhat notorious for keeping his fellow actors (and even the directors) on their toes by concealing and manipulating a whoopee cushion, making farting noises with it at unexpected times, often cracking the whole cast and crew up.

He died of complications from pneumonia in November 2010, at the age of 84.

[[GraveHumor His epitaph reads:]] ''[[ToiletHumor "Let 'er Rip."]]'' Because that's how he rolls. When interviewed, he asked what he would want inscribed on his gravestone, and he answered with this. And yes, he added in a perfectly timed squeeze of the whoopee cushion to punctuate the answer. ( You can virtually visit his grave on Website/FindAGrave, [[http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=62278982 here.)]]

His start as a dramatic actor, which eventually transitioned into doing comedies instead inspired the name of the trivia item LeslieNielsenSyndrome (the inversion of TomHanksSyndrome).

He is not related to Creator/ConnieNielsen. Or Creator/BrigitteNielsen.
!! Leslie Nielsen appears in the following works detailed on TV Tropes:

* ''[[Film/TwoThousandAndOneASpaceTravesty 2001: A Space Travesty]]''
* ''Film/{{Airplane}}'', where the whole joke to his character was meant to be that he was a serious actor bringing all his chops to utterly absurd lines. Naturally, this is a bit lost today.
* ''Film/AllIWantForChristmas''
* ''[[Film/LeslieNielsenGolfTrilogy Bad Golf Made Easier, Bad Golf My Way, Stupid Little Golf Video]]''
* ''The Canadian Conspiracy'', a 1985 HBO {{Mockumentary}} which riffs on the fact that his older brother Erik was Deputy Prime Minister to [[UsefulNotes/CanadianPolitics Brian Mulroney]], and included a whole bunch of Canadians in Hollywood (including both LorneGreene and Creator/LorneMichaels, to say nothing of Creator/WilliamShatner and Creator/MichaelJFox) trying to subvert the US government. Yes.
* ''Film/CityOnFire''
* ''Series/{{Columbo}}'', having played in two films- in the first season as the fiancee of the murderer, and again in the fifth season as a corrupt CIA agent murdered by his own partner.
* ''Film/{{Creepshow}}''
* ''Film/DayOfTheAnimals''
* ''Series/DueSouth'': Where his character is eventually described as having "an extraordinary resemblance to the Canadian actor and comedian Leslie Nielson."
* ''Film/DraculaDeadAndLovingIt''
* ''Film/ForbiddenPlanet''
* ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'': Plays Lucas Williamson, marrying Dorothy in the series finale.
* ''Series/{{MASH}}'': He plays a colonel in one episode gaslit into thinking he has battle fatigue and going stateside to cool off.
* ''Film/MenWithBrooms''
* ''Film/MrMagoo'' (live-action movie)
* ''Series/PoliceSquad''
** ''Film/TheNakedGun'' series, a sequel to ''Police Squad!''
* ''Film/ThePoseidonAdventure''
* ''Film/PromNight1980''
* ''Film/{{Repossessed}}''
* ''Film/ScaryMovie 3'' and ''4''
* ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111049/ S.P.Q.R.: 2000 and a half years ago]]'', an Italian comedy movie among many starring veteran actors Massimo Boldi and Christian De Sica; this movie -- otherwise rather forgettable -- is known for having been graced by Leslie Nielsen himself.
* ''Film/StanHelsing''
* ''Film/SuperheroMovie''
* ''Film/SurfNinjas''
* ''Film/SpyHard''
* ''Film/VivaKnievel''
* ''Film/WrongfullyAccused''

!!'''Leslie Nielsen's career and works demonstrate the following tropes:'''

* TheComicallySerious: Nielsen rebuilt himself as a comedian exactly because him saying absurd lines in a serious tone turned out to be hilarious.
** It can be very jarring for those who've only seen his comedic roles to come across his earlier, dramatic performances. He was a highly skilled dramatic actor, and when playing psychopaths or other hardened characters, he brought a chilling intensity to the role.
%%* DontExplainTheJoke
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Sometimes unconnected with what Nielsen's character is doing, more often something he inadvertently sets off and then carries on in the background of his main scene.
* TheHeavy: Before ''Airplane!'', thanks to his rugged body and deep, masculine voice, he was always typecast as this.
* IWasQuiteALooker: In TheFifties, such as in ''[[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/ForbiddenPlanet1.jpg Forbidden Planet]]''. He later turned into a SilverFox of sorts.
* LiteralMinded: Frequently a gag for him.
%%* MilkingTheGiantCow
* NoSenseOfHumor: Allegedly, the reason Leslie was so good with his famous deadpan delivery was because he genuinely didn't understood the comedy behind the lines he was given.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Many of his roles. Once the comedian phase begun, because doctors/priests/policemen/presidents saying ridiculous things help the hilarity.
%%* ShaggyFrogStory
* StraightMan: His signature style.
* TomHanksSyndrome: Inverted. He'd always been frustrated by being TheHeavy in films, and delighted in finally being able to show off his comedic chops.
* TookTheBadFilmSeriously: Especially towards the end of his career, he started featuring in worse and worse movies... and was consistently a highlight in them. Even before then, he gave a perfect delivery to every bit of RapidFireComedy he was handed.
-->'''Creator/{{Seanbaby}}:''' Some of the jokes he saves in ''Film/TheNakedGun'' movies should be verified by the Catholic church as miracles. For example, he once looked up a woman's dress, told her she had a nice beaver and he was talking about a taxidermy prop. If he can make that hilarious, surely you have to consider him for comedic sainthood.
* {{Troll}}: On set, Nielsen was reportedly a major practical joker -- and unlike many of this trope, everyone enjoyed it.
%%* VisualPun
%%* WalkingDisasterArea