Well, this sucks.
Leslie Nielsen had one of the most unconventional career paths of any actor. Born in 1926, the majority of his career was spent as a journeyman TV mainstay and character actor; with only the cult-classic "Forbidden Planet" in 1957 and "Tammy & The Bachelor" (which was very popular in it's day) in 1956 standing out; plus a turn as The Captain in the original "Poseidon Adventure."
All that changed in 1980, when the Zucker/Abrams/Zucker team cast him in "Airplane!" With the senatorial gravitas that made him a mainstay playing iron-jawed authority figures repurposed for comedic-deapan, he became the unlikliest comedy megastar of the 80s and 90s in the "Naked Gun" films; becoming synonymous with both the movie-parody genre and the Z.A.Z. films in-particular. He kept busy well into the New Millenium, and still had (at least) three films yet to be released when he passed away in his sleep this weekend. He was 84.