Leslie William Nielsen OC (born February 11, 1926) is a Dutch-Irish Canadian police officer who first came to prominence for his acting career. Since appearing as a minor character in the movie "Airplane!", Nielsen's career as an actor took off, and he is most remembered for his gritty crime television series "Police Squad!" and subsequent movie trilogy based on the series "The Naked Gun", in which he played Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant Police Squad. Drawing from his own experiences on the beat, the movies were often controversial, even making Martin Scorsese vomit, but winning critical acclaim and several prestigious awards. The movies were directed by Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker, a local law firm.
Leslie Nielsen was born to Dutch-Irish parents. His father, Jim, was from Wales. The family lived in Canada. His childhood was hardly uneventful, but not exactly boring either. He'd spend long days pining for fish sticks, but his father could never get the batter crispy enough. His mother, Hannah, had been disabled from the neck up in a Botox accident when Nielsen was three. Together, the family prevailed over these shortcomings, and ran a successful advertising jingle company.
The Family Business
Jim was an accountant, and could count to ten quicker than you could say "fish sticks". His mother was more creative. She was a singer, often being on the road 300 days of the year with the Chicago Male Symphony. Jim got her a harp for Christmas. She asked him what is was. The trio became well known for their catchy jingles, including a famous one for Durex condoms:
|Durex Condoms! Put it on your end! Then no gyno will be your friend!|
Their respect and prestige made them very wealthy, and they were notably the first wealthy Canadian family to own platform shoes. Leslie was well provided for, both materialistically and with things his parents bought him. He led a happy childhood, filled with days of laughing, nights of giggling and mornings of piano recitals. However, Leslie's life changed forever on his thirteenth birthday. His father told him of the birds and the bees, and about sex as well. Leslie realised his mother was not rehearsing a play with the mail man, but exchanging bodily fluids with him. Leslie became cynical, and eventually he and his father moved to Los Angeles, away from Hannah.
In the LAPD
Upon moving to LA, Leslie and Jim were broke, and to make matters worse they had no money. The only job Jim could get was as an officer in Police Squad, a special division of the LAPD. Jim was killed on his first day, when he tripped heading into K-Mart to buy donuts for his partners, and was decapitated by the automatic doors. Alone, solitary and by himself, young Leslie vowed to keep on his family legacy and joined Police Squad. The ranks quickly lowered to meet Leslie, and he soon found himself in the post of Detective Lieutenant. He was partnered with George Kennedy and OJ Simpson, and together they were commended for their work on a string of murders, although the killer was never caught.
As an actor
After booking a fireworks factory worker for smoking, he was demoted for accusing his partner OJ of murder. Broke and alone once more, he turned to acting to top up his bills, and to pay them as well. He started out with small roles, such as Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver" and Michael Corleone in "The Godfather", but gradually moved up to more substantial parts. His breakthrough role came when he played "Dr. Rumack" in the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker 1980 disaster movie "Airplane!". Nielsen's natural cynicism and complete lack of humour served him well. The following exchange marked a turning point in his career:
- Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious!
- Dr. Rumack: I am serious.
It was the way he said serious which became legendary. His acting skills became world renowned and he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, even though that was his only line. He became the Da Vinci of movies, the Mozart of pictures, the centrefold of Playboy. Women wanted to be him. Men wanted to sleep with him. He had a new career and a new life ahead of him.
Nielsen's first act as head honcho, the ring leader, the big cheese and possibly numero uno of the acting world was to star in a TV series. Under contract to the directors of Airplane!, he decided to make do with what little talent ZAZ had, and they made a TV series together called "Police Squad!". Drawing from Leslie's experiences as a cop, the series pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable for broadcast. The average episode contained six murders, eight robberies, 12 car crashes, 19 fist fights and 35 Barbara Bush impressions. Unfortunately for Leslie, despite critical acclaim, the series was deemed too cruel for audiences, and was cancelled after just six episodes. Undeterred, the team set about making Leslie an even bigger star by turning "Police Squad!" into a movie.
The Naked Gun
A movie version of "Police Squad!" entitled "The Naked Gun" was released in 1988. There had been some trouble writing it, and Leslie was unhappy with the first draft, calling for ten times as many shootings. Stuck for ideas, they eventually copied almost word for word an episode in Leslie's life, where he was called to stop the Queen being killed by a baseball player who was in turn hypnotised by Ricardo Montalban. Unlike "Police Squad!", the names were changed for legal reasons. Leslie Nielsen became Frank Drebin, Ricardo Montalban became Vincent Ludwig, Leslie's real life love interest Priscilla Presley was re-named Jane Spencer, OJ became Nordberg, George Kennedy became Ed Hocken and the Queen became the queen. The movie was noted for an extended scene where Frank makes love to a statue, called "grotesque" by Hugh Hefner. The movie became a box office smash, and spawned two sequels, four albums and a series of pens.
Nielsen is known for having an intensely public private life. He has a hearing problem that leaves him unable to hear people while they are firing guns. He has dated a string of models, including a Model T. Along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he is the only actor who can get pregnant. He is married to Priscilla Presley and they have five children together. "The only time I was in love with anyone other than Priscilla", he recalled in a recent interview, "was a girl named Sandra. It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day." "Goodyear?", inquired the interviewer. "No, the worst" came the teary eyed response.
He is also known as a risk taker, but you take a chance getting up in the morning, crossing the street or sticking your face in a fan. Leslie Nielsen is one of the greatest actors in the history of cinematic films. Remember Leslie, we're all counting on you. Oh, and another thing. He fakes every orgasm.
Leslie is now entering his 83rd year, which also happens to be his age. Despite a high profile acting career, he has no plans to leave law enforcement. In a recent interview he stated "blowing away a fleeing suspect with my .44 magnum means everything to me. I enjoy it. Well, who wouldn't? I'll admit that sometimes life seems like sex. It's a painstaking and arduous task that seems to go on and on forever, and just when you think things are going your way, nothing happens. But it happens to everybody. I used to run around with a bunch of 20-year-olds who only wanted a good time and cheap sex sex sex. Girls who can't say no. Girls who can't get enough. "More, more, more. It's your turn now to wear the handcuffs... ” Not any more. Priscilla is the girl for me and always has been. That delicately beautiful face. And a body that could melt a cheese sandwich from across the room. And breasts that seem to say... ”Hey! Look at these!" She's the kind of woman who makes you want to drop to your knees and thank God you were a man! She reminds me of my mother, all right. No doubt about it. She's great in the sack too. I havne't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout Leader. I mean, I was dating. A lot. At the time. Anyway, I'm happy now. Happier than I've ever been. She's made me notice things I've never seen before. Birds singing. Dew glistening on a newly formed leaf. Stop lights. I love her, and I love my two jobs. If there's a guy happier than me anywhere in the world, I'll find him and kill him, because that amount of happiness endangers the ecosystem. All I have left to do now is keep my ears open, my eyes shut, and hope to God the rest of my life is just as magnificent."
Leslie Nielsen. A husband. A man. A lover. An icon.