Millennials who haven’t been properly exposed to Leslie Neilsen’s works may only have known him as a comedian, as he focused primarily on the genre in the later stages of his career. However, the Canadian actor who was also a film producer and voice actor was a high profile drama actor in his early days, appearing in a number of western and romantic films between the ’50s and ’70s.
Read on to learn more about the Canadian and Hollywood inducted Walk of Fame’s career, achievements and relationship history.
Nielsen was born Leslie William Nielsen to Mabel Elizabeth (née Davies) and Ingvard Eversen Nielsen on February 11, 1926 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. His mother was a housewife who emigrated to Canada from Wales, while his father was a constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who was born in Denmark.
Nielsen had hoped from a young age that he would be able to pursue an acting career thanks to the success of his half-uncle Jean Hersholt. He previously attended the Victoria School of the Arts in Edmonton and then enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. The young man trained as an air gunner during World War II, but was not fully trained and not sent overseas due to his youth and the fact that he was legally deaf and required to use a hearing aid. After serving in the armed forces, Nielsen worked as a disc jockey at an Alberta radio station before moving to Toronto to enroll at the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts.
While studying in Toronto, Nielsen received a scholarship to study theater and music at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. He quickly moved across the border to the United States and began training in the profession. In 1950, Nielsen was able to make his first television appearance in an episode of Studio One, signaling his entry into acting. He took on several dramatic roles but failed to establish himself in the industry, prompting him to switch to comedy, where he left a never-ending mark.
Some of Leslie Nielsen’s most popular and successful films are: Ransom! (1956), Forbidden Planet (1956) and Hot Summer Night (1957), Night Train to Paris (1964), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Airplane! (1980), Day by Day (1988), The Naked Gun film series and Mr. Magoo (1997), among many others.
Is Leslie Nielsen dead or alive?
Leslie Nielsen is dead. He died in November 2010 at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after a battle with pneumonia. His death was announced to the world by his nephew, Doug Nielsen, who said his uncle died in his sleep surrounded by family and friends. Nielsen’s remains were subsequently interred in Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Lauderdale.
Wealth (income and earnings)
At the time of his death, Leslie Nielsen had a net worth of approximately $20 million. He amassed most of his wealth in the later stages of his career, primarily through his work as an actor, comedian, film producer, and voice artist, spanning six decades.
Many may suspect that the number is relatively small given the length of Nielsen’s career and the fact that he appeared in more than 100 films and 150 television programs. However, around the time Nielsen broke onto the scene, actors weren’t being paid as well as they are today, which puts his income into context.
Who is his spouse?
Leslie Nielsen has been married four times. His first marriage was in 1950 to Monica Boyar, a Dominican-born American nightclub singer. Their marriage lasted five years until they separated in August 1955. A year later, Nielsen divorced, which gave him the opportunity in 1958 to marry his second wife, Alisande Ullman. Nielsen’s marriage to Ullman proved to be his longest, lasting until 1973. It also produced his only two children; Daughters Maura and Thea Nielsen.
In 1981, Nielsen married Brooks Oliver but divorced just two years later in 1983 Police Unit! (1982) actor remained single for a short timeup to two decades before exchanging marriage vows again with actress Barbaree Earl Nielsen in 2001. The two stayed together until she was widowed in 2010.
Leslie Nielsen has two older brothers. One of them was Erik Nielsen, a Canadian politician who was a Member of Parliament for 30 consecutive years and also at one time held the positions of President of the Queen’s Canadian Privy Council (1984-1985) and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada (1984-1986), among other things.