The ever-hilarious Leslie Nielsen passed away at 84 of complications from pneumonia yesterday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The handsome leading man started out as a dramatic actor, but evolved into what Roger Ebert called "the Olivier of spoofs" when he starred as Dr. Rumack in Airplane, a satire of disaster films that hit screens in 1980.
He followed that up with playing Frank Drebin, a stereotypical police officer in Police Squad, a way-too-short-lived TV series that aired in 1982. (Do yourself a favor and rent it -- it's hilarious.) Better known is his reprise of Debrin in The Naked Gun movies several years later.
Nielsen usually stole the show in exchanges like this:
Rumack: Can you fly this plane and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious.
Rumack: I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.
Rumack: You'd better tell the Captain we've got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.Elaine Dickinson: A hospital? What is it?Rumack: It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.
And another NG gem:
Frank: Now, Jane, what can you tell us about the man you saw last night?
Jane: He's Caucasian.
Jane: Yeah, you know, a white guy. A moustache. About six-foot-three.
Frank: Awfully big moustache.
One more from The Naked Gun:
Frank: That's the red-light district. I wonder why Savage is hanging around down there.
Ed: Sex, Frank?
Frank: Uh, no, not right now, Ed.
And finally, a warning from Dr. Rumack on what will happen to you if you eat the fish:
Rest in peace, Mr. Nielsen.
What was your favorite Leslie Nielsen line?
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