Yesterday, the master of nonsense, Leslie Nielsen, passed away from complications from pneumonia brought on while battling a staph infection. He was 84. What you might not have known is that this comedic icon began his career as a young, serious actor. It was only after such huge hits like Airplane! and The Naked Gun that Nielsen became the bumbling older gentleman that we all remember him as. So, as a tribute to the idiot with the silkiest silver hair I’ve ever seen, here are some of Leslie Nielsen’s most memorable moments.
Okay, so technically, every single scene from this movie is best scene, but I can’t just post the whole thing on here, so you’re just going to have to deal with having a few of them. This film is really just a bunch of stupidity, but it’s executed so well that you just can’t help but laugh.
This is the very first sequence of the movie. Now you know the kind of ridiculousness that you’re in for.
How can you follow that one up? How about with this one?
You thought I was done? I’ve got one more for you, just to round it out.
The Naked Gun
The Naked Gun trilogy. What can I say about these films that hasn’t already been said? They are in the same vein of nonsense as Wrongfully Accused, except with OJ Simpson as Nordberg. You want some funny crap? Here’s the beginning of the very first movie.
This is a great scene where Frank saves Nordberg in the hospital, and the subsequent car chase to track down his attempted killer.
You might remember this hysterical sequence, where Frank Drebin attempts to keep a baseball game going indefinitely in order to save the queen of England. Can’t make that shit up.
Those 3 are just from the first movie. I’d love to give you six more from the next two, but let’s keep it simple. I’ll just give you a quickie for the road. If you want to see the rest of the trilogy you’re going to have to watch it.
Airplane! was the movie that catapulted Nielsen into the comedy world. Before that, he was a young and handsome actor who played serious roles. Don’t believe me? Check out this picture of Nielsen in The Forbidden Planet:
Mind-blowing. But anyway, here are some classic scenes from his breakout comedic role in Airplane!
After Captain Oveur gets food poisoning, the doctor calls Ted Striker in to see if he can fly the plane…what follows is a joke that has stood the test of time, and is still funny as hell thirty years later.
And just for a quick laugh, here’s a connection between Airplane! and Scary Movie 3, a terrible follow-up to first two Scary Movies, in which Nielsen plays the president of the United States. It’s called the “Leslie Nielsen Maneuver.”
Dracula: Dead and Loving It
What happens when Mel Brooks teams up with Leslie Nielsen? You get one of the most underestimated comedies of our time, complete with sharp wit, outrageous puns, and lots of slapstick. Take a peek into the wonderful world of vampires.
Remember Renfield? That little master-master guy who ate the bugs? Well…
2001: A Space Travesty
And what a travesty it was. But even the worst of Nielsen’s movies deserves a shout-out. While this movie went unnoticed, it does have some choice scenes, such as this one.
Another one of his movies that is frequently disregarded, Spy Hard kept with the tradition of putting the goofy old man in compromising situations.
If you don’t remember, Nielsen played the villain Colonel Chi in Surf Ninjas, a movie that just oozes early 90’s. What’s funnier than this silly man wearing half of a metal mask and a suit of samurai battle armor? Not much.
Unfortunately, I went scouring all over the Internet to find some of the best scenes from Mr. Magoo, but to no avail. So, along with Magoo, I thought it’d be worth just mentioning some of the other comedies he’s done. In recent years, Nielsen had found a niché in spoof movies. Well, I guess all of his roles in comedies were satirical, but these were the lowest-of-the-low types of films: Scary Movie 3 , Scary Movie 4, Superhero Movie, Stan Helsing, and Spanish Movie were all done in the style that he helped make popular thirty years ago with Airplane!, so it was only fitting that he had a role in each.
Leslie Nielsen, we salute you and the great things that you did for slapstick comedy. Surely you will be missed. If he were here, we all know what he would say: “I will be missed…and don’t call me Shirley.”
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