Shirley He Can’t Have Died?

The Arts

Sorry to hear that Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen has died at age 84. I had the privilege of working with him three times, creating spoof scripts to launch the ‘Naked Gun’ films. (UK poster line: ‘The comedy that goes off in your trouser pocket.’) Although he was profoundly deaf and wore discreet hearing aids, he never missed a cue and brought a wonderful dry wit to his lines. Charming and affably old school, he was encouraging and helpful as a performer, and became my favourite actor to work with. Trivia: One of Nielsen’s brothers became the deputy Prime Minister of Canada.

People forget now that he was a serious actor in films like ‘Forbidden Planet’, and often played villainous roles. As Detective Frank Drebin he appeared oblivious to what was going on around him and could deadpan any line to make it funny. So long, Frank.

3 comments on “Shirley He Can’t Have Died?”

  1. J. Folgard says:

    This affected me more than I would have thought. I practically grew up watching his various spoof movies and had came, several years ago, to realize his caliber as a comedian. I mean, some entries were watchable only because of (or thanks to) his comical skills & sense of timing. In a way, it feels like the death of a distant uncle, the kind who used to crack jokes, sometimes goofy or even corny, but always entertaining.

  2. Steve says:

    I remember him well from “Forbidden Planet”; I’ve been watching Science Fiction movies – the good, the bad, the stupid – for more than half a century.
    So long, Les!

  3. Helen Martin says:

    His brother Erik was fiercely independent as an MP, always working for better conditions in the North, and he was highly respected by other MPs, including those of other parties. They both seem to have been of tremendously honest natures and will surely be missed.

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