I’ll skip the “Shirley you’re not serious” joke since it’s been made a thousand times already by now, but the truth is, Leslie Nielsen has died. The 84-year-old died in a Ft. Lauderdale hospital near his home, and to add insult to injury, he passed away in his sleep from crappy-old complications from pneumonia, and not anything fitting, like assault with a concrete dildo. Those of us who loved him can take solace in knowing that at least he outlived former co-star Anna Nicole Smith (too soon?).
Born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan (which rhymes with “Vagina, I sketch-a one”), Nielsen was easily the greatest Canadian to have ever lived, perhaps greater even than Bruce Greenwood. No doubt realizing this, Nielsen’s brother Erik was named Deputy Prime Minister of Canada from 1984 – 1986, when Leslie was busy. And now that he’s dead, there’s no reason his face shouldn’t grace their currency along with other icons of Canadianity such as the British Queen, the Loon, and the moose c*ck.
A serious, dramatic actor before Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies forever tied him to comedy, no one could deliver awesomely deadpan one-liners like Leslie Nielsen (“We’re sorry to bother you at a time like this, Mrs. Twice. We would’ve come earlier, but your husband wasn’t dead then.”) Yes, Naked Gun‘s writers probably deserve more of the credit for those, but Nielsen was so universally liked that he could star in movies like Stan Helsing and Scary Movie 4 and no one held it against him. Try to think of even one actor from a Seltzer/Friedberg movie who you wouldn’t murder with a shovel if given half a chance. Go ahead, try. Can’t do it.
Nielsen worked right up until the time of his death, and a Variety article from July 2009 listed Naked Gun 4: Rhythm of Evil on the production docket (Nielsen himself had once suggested the title “Naked Gun 4: The Second Final Insult”). One assumes that with Nielsen dead it won’t happen, but one probably assumed they’d never make a Family Circus movie either, so who knows. In any case, rest in peace, you magnificent bastard, you will be missed.
Here he is farting on some British people. (17-second mark)
Opening sequence from Naked Gun
He could do slapstick too.
Longer Naked Gun compilation.