Leslie Nielsen, The 'Airplane!' And 'Naked Gun' Actor Who Started Out Serious

By Kellar Ellsworth
Left: Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen in 'Forbidden Planet.' Right: Nielsen and Jeannette Charles in 'The Naked Gun.' Sources: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images; IMDB.

Leslie Nielsen's legacy rests on Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies, but the late comedy genius spent over two decades as a serious actor before finding himself in the zany world of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker productions. For years, the classically handsome leading man played it straight to great success. Pictures like Forbidden Planet, Tammy and the Bachelor, and The Poseidon Adventure” all leveraged his matinee-idol good looks and trustworthy aura.