Leslie Nielsen passed away? Surely, you must be kidding
Leslie Nielsen was possibly the straightest actor in the funniest movie of the '80s. So in his honor, I'll give it to you straight: The 84-year-old actor died Sunday night in Florida from complications of pneumonia.
Every good movie fan knows Nielsen's story. The one-time serious dramatic actor from movies such as Forbidden Planet and Poseidon Adventure got a career revival starting with 1980's Airplane! in which he played the deanpanning Dr. Rumack. It's a schtick he'd carry on as Lt. Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun movies.
Nielsen reportedly was very surprised and happy to be offered the role of Dr. Rumack in Airplane, which had already been turned down by Christopher Lee. He told friends he figured his career would end playing elderly and grandfather-like roles. The movie's signature conversation between Ted Stryker ( Robert Hays) and Rumack -- "Surely you can't be serious" "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley" -- was voted 79th in the American Film Institute's list of 100 Best Movie Quotes.
TOP 5 LESLIE NIELSEN LINES FROM AIRPLANE:
5. "The last thing he said to me, 'Doc,' he said, 'some time when the crew is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to get out there and give it all they got and win just one for the Zipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Doc,' he said, 'but I won't smell too good, that's for sure.' "
4. "I haven't seen anything like this since the Anita Bryant concert."
3. "The life of everyone on board depends upon just one thing: finding someone back there who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."
2. "I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you."
1. "I am serious... and don't call me Shirley."