MIAMI (AFP) – Veteran TV and movie actor Leslie Nielsen, whose dead-pan humor was immortalized in "Naked Gun" and "Airplane," died from pneumonia, TMZ celebrity website said Sunday.
Nielsen, a Canadian by birth, died Sunday in hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, his agent told TMZ.
Nielsen's nephew, Doug Nielsen, told Canada's CJOB radio station, in Winnipeg, that his uncle died Sunday "with his friends and his wife by his side, he just fell asleep and passed away."
Born in 1926 in Canada's rugged Saskatchewan and spent part of his childhood in a fort in Canada's Northwest Territories when his Danish-born father was a constable in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
He studied acting in Toronto and New York, where he appeared in several live television shows in the 1950s and narrated several documentaries and commercials, using his distinctive voice.
He acted in serious roles in several films from the 1950s onward, including "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972), but it took his role as a clueless doctor aboard a troubled passenger jet in "Airplane" (1980) to launch his successful career as a comedic actor.
The "Naked Gun" series of three movies in 1988, 1991 and 1994 cemented Nielsen's popularity, who followed it up with other starring roles in spoofs including "Repossessed" (1990) and "2001: A Space Travesty" (2000).
Lately, Nielsen starred as the wacky US president in "Scary Movie 3" (2003) and "Scary Movie 4" (2006).
In his 1993 autobiography "The Naked Truth," Nielsen lampoons himself by making up events in his life like winning two Oscars for best actor and having an affair with Elizabeth Taylor.
Twice nominated to Emmy Awards, in 1982 for his roles in the television comedy series "Police Squad" and in 1988 for his guest work in "Day by Day" television sitcom.
He is survived by his wife of nine years and two daughters.