Farewell, Shirley…

The sad news has reached me that Leslie Nielsen has passed away. As I wasn’t alive for most of his golden years and have certainly never seen his earlier, more serious, work, please permit me to remember him for his work as the master of clowning around.

The Naked Gun was one of the first movies I remember truly ‘loving’. The crime caper and its sequels were, to me, about as funny as films could be. Sure, I had no idea that OJ Simpson had brutally stabbed his wife to death*, but the whole ensemble, particularly Nielsen, grabbed my comedic imagination.

He might not have been responsible for the writing in Airplane! but what would the line ‘Don’t call me Shirley’ be in the hands of any other actor? Nielson confirmed, in my mind, his position as the King of the Spoof and it’s a shame that he didn’t remember these golden days later on when they started churning out Scary Movie after Scary Movie after Scary Movie. I choose to remember him for assaulting out Queen across a banquet table and for making the Oscars a hell of a lot more interesting.

*OJ Simpson was acquitted by a Jury in a (fair?) trial…

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