NAKED GUN star Leslie Nielsen used to consider himself a ladies' man, until he learnt "cruel young women" were mocking his crooked legs.

The spoof actor - who is bow-legged - endured years of torment and humiliation as a youngster, and any dreams he had of becoming a big screen action hero were soon dashed by his minor disability.

The 77-year-old comic - he features as the American President in new spoof Scary Movie 3 - says, "I thought I might be a ladies' man. But then I discovered that I was bow-legged. Young women can be cruel and they said, 'Oh look, it's bow-legged,' and you shrink away and shrivel up and you don't know what to do.

"I knew then why I had never really gone in the direction of becoming TARZAN's son, BOY. I was very athletic, did somersaults and stuff, but then I realised you couldn't have a little guy, or maybe not so little, running through the forest looking like an egg-beater."

23/01/2004 17:38