This is truly an amazing time we live in. As I was playing in a freeroll tournament online, the Tweetdeck window I had open to the side started lighting up with the news of Leslie Nielsen’s passing. Being the cynical person I am, I refused to believe it until major news outlets confirmed the news an hour later.
While Nielsen enjoyed a career that started in the 50s, I, like many of my friends, was introduced to him as one of the stars of Airplane! and Police Squad. With the release of The Naked Gun, he was firmly cemented in my head as the guy who always played the bumbling straight man. However, that was not fair to his career.
As I learned more about him each time he released a new comedy, I was astonished to learn about his early career as a dramatic actor, particularly one that played the villain. About 15 years ago, I found one of his last villain roles while flipping channels – his role as a controlling, vengeful husband in Creepshow. Seeing the pure malice and homicidal emotions that easily played across his face, I instantly understood why everyone was amazed at his ability to do comedy.As a side note, it seems that every time I find Creepshow playing, it is always during his vignette.
While most online blogs and articles are using some form of the “Shirley” line to end their tributes, I think Mr. Nielsen would approve of the use of his closing line from Creepshow to end this tribute (particularly given the circumstances causing death):
<maniacal laughing> “I can hold my breath a long time…gurgle….a long time……gurgle….”