LOS ANGELES (Associated Press) - Leslie Nielsen had the somber demeanor and stone-serious face that were just right for dramatic roles. They proved even better for comedy.
"Surely you can't be serious," an airline passenger says to Nielsen in "Airplane!" the 1980 hit that turned the actor from dramatic leading man to comic star.
"I am serious," Nielsen replies. "And don't call me Shirley."The line was probably his most famous -- and a perfect distillation of his career.