[For some reason, Blogger has taken to arbitrarily delaying scheduled posts, so imagine that this came out at a few minutes before 9 this morning.]
Surely, he'll be remembered more for his post-"Airplane!" career as shameless self-parodist and collaborator with the Zucker brothers, but Nielsen was originally a romantic leading man. (Professionally speaking, William Shatner went to school on his putting.)
Matt Zoller Seitz at Salon.com has a nice appreciation of Nielson, arguing that going goofy wasn't his Plan B; it was just an opportunity the big lug had never gotten.
BTW, no one specifically asked my opinion, but "Forbidden Planet" was every bit as much a jump forward from the science fiction moviemaking and storytelling of its day as were "Star Wars" and "The Matrix" in their day.