Earlier this year, we lost one of the captains of Airplane!, Peter Graves, with his passing. In October we bid a fond farewell to the “Jive Lady” herself, Barbara Billingsley. Now comes more sad news as Leslie Nielsen, another scenestealer from the spoof masterpiece, has passed away due to complications from pneumonia. He was 84.
Last night, Leslie’s nephew, Doug Nielsen, revealed to Canadian talk radio station CJOB 68 in Manitoba that his uncle had been hospitalized for close to two weeks, but the infection was “just too much and at 5.30, with his friends and his wife by his side, he just fell asleep and passed away.”
Nielsen may be synonymous with Airplane! and as Lt. Frank Dreben in The Naked Gun trilogy of films, Nielsen played a number of different roles on television in a career that spans over 60 years. He made appearances on everything from Route 66 to Thriller, and Peyton’s Place to Kung Fu. He even played five different characters on The Virginian at one time.
Okay, here’s the lipnus test. Go up to a friend or a co-worker and ask them “Surely you can’t be serious?” If they respond by finishing the rest of the joke, then you know that they are on your same wavelength to a degree. I don’t think there’s a week that goes by where I’m not referring to Airplane! in some regard. That was one of those spoofs that just clicked. The ZAZ trio (David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker) knew how to make spoofs worth revisiting, unlike the “(Insert Title Here) Movie” movies of today.
While we mourn his passing, let us have a good laugh to remember him by.
Tags: Airplane, Leslie Nielsen
Source: CJOB 68