Steven graduated Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications, focusing on film studies, journalism and theatre arts. Dubbed a "prolific" writer by Hollywood icon Kenneth Johnson (The Incredible Hulk, V, The Bionic Woman, Alien Nation), Steven has been honored by the Arkansas College Media Association for his story writing prowess. He has also received recognition for his dramatic writing from the Eerie, Shriekfest and Screamfest horror film festivals. Publications include: Carroll County News, Saline Courier, Forum, Echo and Moroch.
Actor Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin in "The Naked Gun."
LITTLE ROCK — Leslie William Nielsen was born on February 11, 1926 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Formerly Fort Norman, Tulita is where Nielsen was raised in the Northwest Territories, which is where his dad worked as a Mountie; Nielsen's mother was Welsh. Upon graduating high school, Nielsen joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he served as an aerial gunner at the end of World War II.
After the war, Nielsen worked as a disc jockey for a Calgary radio station. With his distinct voice, Nielsen realized his abilities and his ambitions flourished. Leslie decided to study at the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto. Nielsen later moved to the United States, and he joined the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.
Nielsen studied both theatre and music, while performing with the Playhouse. Nielsen landed his first acting gig in "Battleship Bismark," which was an episode of Studio One in Hollywood (1949). From 1949 through 1954, Nielsen starred in 26 television series before making his motion picture debut as Thibault d'Aussigny in "The Vagabond King" (1956).
Nielsen's breakthrough role came that same year as Commander J.J. Adams in the sci-fi classic "Forbidden Planet" (1956). Nielsen became known as a serious dramatic actor over the years. From 1956 through
1979, Nielsen starred in both film and television, while making appearances on successful TV series including: Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, S.W.A.T., Columbo, Kung Fu, Kojak, Ironside, Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, MASH, The Mod Squad and Night Gallery.
In 1980, Nielsen's career took a serious shift toward comedy when he portrayed Dr. Rumack in "Airplane!"(1980). An appearance as the Man in the Feel-O-Rama movie from "The Kentucky Fried Movie" (1977) also played a part in filmmakers seeing Nielsen as a billable comedic actor.
However, it was a short-lived television series that would forever catapult Nielsen into the annals of comedic drudgery. In 1982, Police Squad! premiered on television airwaves on March 4. The show only lasted six episodes, but Nielsen was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of the bumbling Detective Frank Drebin.
It was the role of Drebin that helped Nielsen soar to a stratosphere of comedy immortality when Leslie played the character again in the movie "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" (1988). Nielsen revisited the coveted role in two sequels "The Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear" (1991) and "The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" (1994). Hollywood doors flew open for Nielsen, as comedic roles continuously came his way.
Nielsen appeared as a slew of zany characters running the gambit from the infamous Count of Transylvania in "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" (1995) to Quincy Magoo in "Mr. Magoo" (1997). Nielsen also appeared as the dim-witted President Baxter Harris in "Scary Movie 3" (2003) and "Scary Movie 4" (2006).
Leslie Nielsen was a true acting talent that used his unique abilities to entertain audiences for over 50 years. Nielsen made over 1,500 television appearances, while starring in more than 50 films during his illustrious career. Nielsen is survived by his wife Barbaree Earl Nielsen, married in 2001, and his two children from his second marriage (1958-1974) to Alisande Ullman. A comedic genius, Leslie Nielsen is sorely missed.