Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen is known for his nearly innumerable screen appearances. Among his many roles, he is perhaps best remembered for his role in Airplane! and Naked Gun. Leslie was a recipient of the prestigious Officer of the Order of Canada (OC) award. The Governor-General of Canada conferred the honor on him on October 10, 2002, in recognition of his numerous contributions to the film and television industries.
Leslie Nielsen Age and Bio
Leslie William Nielsen was born on the 11th day of February 1926 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada to a Danish father and Welsh mother. Nielsen grew up in the North-Western territories of Fort Norman where his father worked with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He attended Victoria Composite High School, Edmonton, Alberta.
After high school, Leslie Nielsen joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at the age of 17. He later enrolled at the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto where he earned a scholarship to study theater and music at the Neighbourhood Playhouse.
Nielsen played his debut acting role in 1950 on an episode of Studio One. He later made up to 46 television appearances the same year. Prior to this, he had played other acting roles which were regarded as insignificant and were not taken note of.
Leslie Nielsen continued acting way down to his 80’s. Some of the movie and TV roles he played in old age include Clarence Darrow in his one-man theater production, Darrow; doctor in humorous but educational TV show, Doctor*Ology; Uncle Ben in Superhero Movie, Dr. Rumack in Family Guy, and doctor in Spanish horror comedy, Spanish Movie among others.
Nielsen’s favorite sport is Golf. This led him into producing comedic golf instructional videos. Such productions included Bad Golf Made Easier (1993), Bad Golf My Way (1994) and Stupid Little Golf Video (1997). He also authored a book, The Naked Truth (1993).
Is He Still Alive Or Dead?
Leslie Nielsen is dead. He died on 28th November 2010 aged 84 after suffering from pneumonia at the Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he was admitted for treatments. Prior to his sickness and death, Nielsen had been diagnosed of knee osteoarthritis. He was also legally deaf and wore hearing aids for the most part of his life.
Nielsen was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He left his fourth wife and widow, Barbaree Earl Nielsen and his two sons, Maura and Thea Nielsen to mourn him. Nielsen’s favorite joke “Let ‘er rip” is inscribed on his gravestone.
Meet His Spouse
Despite having a great sense of humor and in fact, being a practical joker, Leslie Nielson was unable to make his marriages work. He married four times. First was in 1950 to American nightclub singer, Monica Boyar. The marriage ended six years later. Nielsen remarried in 1958, to Alisande Ullman. The couple divorced in 1973. Nielsen’s union with Alisande was his longest-lasting marriage. It produced two children – Maura and Thea Nielsen.
Again, he got married to Brooks Oliver in 1981. That one hit the rocks barely two years later. After this, Nielsen went on a long hiatus from marriage. However, in his later years, he finally married Barbaree Earl in 2001.
Leslie Nielsen’s widow, Barbaree Earl is a 70-year-old American actress. She started dating Nielsen in 1995 before they finally got married in 2010. Barbaree has starred in films such as known for Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), Wrongfully Accused (1998) and Family Plan (1997) among others.
Here’s a simple breakdown of Leslie Nielsen’s marriages:
- Monica Boyar (1950-1956)
- Alisande Ullman (1958-1973)
- Brooks Oliver (1981-1983)
- Barbaree Earl (2001-2010)
What to know about his brother
Nielsen had two brothers; Erik and Gilbert Nielsen. Gilbert was his half brother, a product of his father’s previous relationship.
Leslie Nielsen’s brother, Erik Nielsen, born February 24, 1984, was a Canadian politician and long-time Member of Parliament. As an MP, he served as Leader of the Opposition in 1983 and served till 1986. He later rose to become a Cabinet Minister, and then the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada from 1984 to 1986.
Erik Nielsen died from a severe heart attack on September 4, 2008 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Just like his brother Leslie, he also died aged 84.
Net Worth at the time of death
As of 2010 when Nielsen died, his net worth stood at $20 million. He accumulated most of his wealth from his acting career – film and television.
In 1956, Leslie signed a long-term deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio. This was after his role in Nicholas Nayfack’s Forbidden Planet. At MGM, Nielsen starred in numerous movies including Ransom! (1956), The Opposite Sex (1956) and 1957’s Hot Summer Night. Nielsen’s lead role alongside famous actress, Debbie Reynolds proved him a talented actor thereby pushing him further to the limelight.
In 1959, Leslie Nielson left MGM. He then landed a major role in the Disney miniseries, The Swamp Fox. Other films followed including Justice, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Virginian, and The Wild Wild West.
Before finally venturing into comedic acting, Leslie starred in the following films: The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Project: Kill (1977), and City on Fire (1979). It was Nielsen’s role as Dr. Rumack in the 1980 movie, Airplane! that established him as a comedic actor. According to him, he had always wanted to do comedy. Also notable among the comedic movies he acted are: The Naked Gun (1988), Spy Hard (1996), and Wrongfully Accused (1998).
Beginning his acting career at a time when Hollywood wasn’t so lucrative, Leslie Nielsen had to endure those hard times to get to the level he did before death. Nielsen revealed that back in the day, he would earn $75 or $100 per role.