Friday, April 8, 2011

Leslie Nielsen, 1926-2010: Don’t Call Him Shirley

Leslie Nielsen, star of TV's Police Squad! as well as the Airplane and Naked Gun movies, has died at age 84 .  Nielsen was a dramatic actor who turned to comedy relatively late, but the first half of his career was preparation for the second, in which he became one of Hollywood's funniest straight men. When Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker cast Nielsen in Airplane!, they were looking not for a classically funny guy: they were looking for a man who could play as if entirely unaware he were the funniest character in a movie. The disaster-movie parody spawned his entirely apt trademark line, in response to the exclamation, "Surely you can't be serious!": "I am serious

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