Leslie Nielsen we will miss you

What can I say? One of the funniest men in the movies, he had the dead pan comedy down to a science that has been imitated but never duplicated. From The Virginian to Airplane, he played everything with the same intensity, never cheating an audience out of a buck just to make a buck. I’ve included a best of video below. Enjoy, laugh out loud and say a prayer. God bless and God rest.

Wagon Train, Peyton Place, even Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, Nielsen made his mark in television across every imaginable genre. Here’s a long list of credits at IMBD. But it’s clearly his two spoofs, Naked Gun, and Airplane, where I think most audiences believe he really hit his stride. Here’s a list from IMBD. It will take you a while to go through these credits.

Here’s some of his best moments from those two movies:


An amazing career. From the LA Times.

Leslie Nielsen, a serious actor who became a comic star with his career-changing roles in “Airplane!” and the “Naked Gun” comedies, died Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 84.

Nielson died of complications from pneumonia at a hospital near his home, surrounded by his wife, Barbaree, and friends, his agent, John S. Kelly, said in a statement.

In “Airplane!,” the 1980 send-up of just about every disaster movie plot imaginable, Nielsen as Dr. Rumack was “an essentially serious actor taking essentially preposterous material very straight,” wrote Times Arts Editor Charles Champlin in his review.

Just how preposterous was it?

As the crew and passengers became ill, Nielsen said they needed to get the sick to a hospital.

“A hospital? What is it?” a flight attendant asked.

Nielsen: “It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.”

And when Nielsen was told, “Surely you can’t be serious,” he answered: “I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.”

Nielsen followed up “Airplane!” with another goofy role delivered with deadpan conviction as Frank Drebin in the “Police Squad!” television show and “Naked Gun” movies.

It was quite a career shift for an actor who seemed perfectly cast as a handsome leading man when he came to Hollywood in the 1950s, already a veteran of live television appearances.

A typically serious early role was as the spaceship commander in “Forbidden Planet, ” the 1956 science-fiction classic. “It’s the reason I was never asked to do ‘Star Trek’ or ‘Twilight Zone’ for TV,” he told the Toronto Star in 2002. “I carried too much baggage with me from that movie.”

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Jim Vicevich

Jim is a veteran broadcaster and conservative/libertarian blogger with more than 25 years experience in TV and radio. Jim's was the long-term host of The Jim Vicevich Show on WTIC 1080 in Hartford from 2004 through 2019. Prior to radio, Jim worked as a business and financial reporter for NBC30 - the NBC owned TV station in Hartford - and as business editor at WFSB-TV in Hartford for 14 years while earning six Emmy nominations and three Telly Awards.


  1. Dimsdale on November 29, 2010 at 4:42 am

    I am going to watch my new Blu Ray copy of Forbidden Planet (the finest sci fi movie ever made) in his honor tonight.  I am sure Anne Francis will help me through the loss….    😉

  2. RoBrDona on November 29, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Imagine the king of the deadpan one-liners as an American politician. You would never know if he was serious or not, it would give the talking heads migranes. He couldn't be president unfortunately as he was a Canadian. His brother however, was Deputy Prime Minister of Canada at one time and his dad was a Mountie so public service was in the blood. Too bad, it would have been his best role.

  3. Anne-EH on November 29, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    IMHO, Leslie Nielsen, was an example of expanding your acting resume to include the very best of comedy, to include some of the very best funny movies. Truly he will be missed.

  4. Barb on November 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    The man was truly a legend even in his own time.  And what a span.  I loved him as a kid and my kids loved him in Airplane and Naked Gun.  They can recite every line.  He will be missed!

  5. GdavidH on November 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I always stop to watch his movies whenever I'm channel surfing. I never get sick of Airplane and the Naked Gun flicks are a riot ( even with O.J. ). He definitely worked in a better, higher quality Hollywood than today….And he shined.

    Sorry but I gotta do it…..

     Surely he will be missed!

  6. tom on November 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Lt. Frank Drebin of 'Police Squad':

    "Like a blind man at an orgy, I was going to have to feel my way through."


  7. smith on November 30, 2010 at 7:14 am

    The first time I saw Naked Gun was a free showing at a Friday night film series at a public library. I went with a friend. We both literally were laughing in the aisles…….on the floor!

  8. Lynn on November 30, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Thanks, I needed that! What's better than deadpan comedy? Deadpan comedy with puns. He was the best at it!

  9. JollyRoger on December 5, 2010 at 3:17 am

    I've watched some things with Leslie since his death; the baritone voice, serious face, cluelessness and essentially playing preposterous material very straight- it all reminds me of Obama!  I hope that during the next state of the union, the Republicans provide drum rolls, cymbal shots and a laugh track.

Leslie Nielsen

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