Leslie William Nielsen (11 February 1926 - 28 November 2010) is an American actor-turned-politician famous for his role as Commander Adams in The Forbidden Planet and in various other science-fiction films in the 1960's and early 1970's. Between 1972 and January 1976, he served as the President of the Screen Actor's Guild, which got him introduced to politics.
The younger brother of Erik Nielsen, a Nationalist Senator from Dakota, Nielsen served as the Governor of Dakota as a moderate Nationalist for twenty years (1979-1999), completing five consecutive four-year terms (Dakota would not institute term limits until 2001). Nielsen balanced the budget 19 of his 20 years and produced twelve surpluses, consolidated government programs and agencies, cut taxes, and expanded wildlife refuges while deregulating the oil and energy businesses. Dakota, especially the border city of Regina, enjoyed a robust economy under Nielsen, and the state opened three new public universities.
In 1988, his name was widely circulated as a potential running mate for Robert Redford, but he was passed on for the more conservative George Bush, who was thought to better complement the moderate Redford. Presidential speculation surrounded Nielsen in 1996, but at the age of 70 he chose not to run despite a strong push by supporters to draft him. After retirement, the Dakota State Governor's Residence was renamed the Leslie W. Nielsen Gubernatorial Mansion. Multiple public buildings in Dakota are named after Nielsen.