I was sad to hear about the passing of Leslie Nielsen, an actor who has been in a number of films I loved as a child and still love to this day. Though known and loved mainly for his comedic roles Nielsen started out as a serious actor, and I remember him well from Forbidden Planet (1956) and hadn’t realised until now that he was also the captain in The Poseidon Adventure (1972). He also popped up in a large number of TV shows (he was one of those actors you would go “hey, isn’t that that guy? You know, the guy who was in that other thing we watched? You know... that guy!”)
In 1980 he starred in Airplane! as Dr. Rumack, and immortalised himself with his dead pan delivery and brilliant comedy timing. I remember loving this film as a kid, and I still laugh like a loon with Nielsen’s lines, with one in particular being a line I consider one of the greatest in cinema history (more to come on that later). Naked Gun followed and was an excellent TV show, though it made a less impressive trilogy of films. Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) was a little strained but still has its moments of comedy gold, and looking at his IMDB list I see a huge amount of shows and films I had never consciously connected with Leslie Nielsen but watched regularly. Like I said, he was one of those guys.