Date of Birth: February 11th 1926
Canadian-born American Emmy Award-nominated comedian and actor. He is well known for his roles as Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun, Dr. Rumack in Airplane! and most recently President Harris in the Scary Movie Series. Although Nielsen’s acting career crossed a variety of genres in both television and movies, he has achieved his greatest film success in comedies, including Airplane! and The Naked Gun series of films. His portrayal of serious characters seemingly oblivious of (and complicit in) their absurd surroundings gave Nielsen a reputation as a comedian. A series of later comedies attempted to emulate the popularity of his prior roles.
Nielsen’s career began in dramatic roles, with numerous appearances as a doctor, lawyer, or police officer. In 1950 alone, he appeared in almost 50 live programs. Nielsen reported that for his salary that there "was very little gold...we only got $75 or $100 per show." His distinctive voice narrated several documentaries and commercials. With a handful of exceptions, his early work as a dramatic actor was uneventful. All Movie Guide notes, "much of Nielsen's early work was undistinguished; he was merely a handsome leading man in an industry overstocked with handsome leading men."
Nielsen says he has appeared in over 1,500 television programs. His early television appearances include parts in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Virginian, and Wild, Wild West.His first leading role in a tv series was as American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion in Disney’s The Swamp Fox, a spin-off of the Davy Crockett series, it also featured his singing of the theme song. In 1961, he was the lead in a taut L.A. police drama called The New Breed. In 1968, he had a major role in the pilot movie for the popular police series Hawaii Five-O. In 1969, he had the leading role as a police officer in The Bold Ones: The Protectors. Nielsen also starred in the by William Girdler directed 1977 cult-classic Project: Kill.