"Doing nothing is very hard to do ... you never know when you're finished."
And with quotes like that, Leslie Nielsen earned the reputation as one of the funniest men in Hollywood’s history. The man who appeared in over 100 films, 1,500 television programs, and portrayed over 220 characters seemingly did it all over his 62-year career.
While he was always a very successful and popular actor, it was his role as Dr. Alan Rumack in the 1980 movie “Airplane!” that helped launch his career to another level. Nielsen gained a reputation for being a great “spoof actor” and would go onto to do several spoof comedy movies during the latter part of his career. During the filming of airplane, Leslie Nielsen used a fart machine to keep the atmosphere light and keep the cast off-balance. "I played that thing like a maestro." Nielsen told reporters.
He attained even more popularity when he starred in the “Naked Gun” series where he played the aloof Lieutenant Frank Drebin. Empire Magazine named Frank Drebin one of the “100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time” and UGO.com listed the character as one of the “100 Greatest Heroes of All Time”. While filming The Naked Gun, Leslie Nielsen would sneak whoopee cushions on the chairs of other cast members. Always the prankster, Nielsen could not resist the urge to laugh out loud at his harmless pranks.
"This is Frank Drebin, Police Squad. Throw down your guns, and come on out with your hands up. Or come on out, then throw down your guns, whichever way you wanna do it. Just remember the two key elements here: one, guns to be thrown down; two, come on out"
Post Naked Gun, Nielsen would go onto do several others spoof movies including “Spy Hard”, “Stan Helsing”, “Superhero Movie”, as well as the last 2 editions of the “Scary Movie” franchise.
Nielsen was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and lived in Canada during the early part of his life. He would then go on to accept a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City. He was inducted to both the Canadian and Hollywood Walk of Fame.
From the Editor: Although I never had the honor of meeting the comic legend in person, he has impacted my life in ways that I could never have imagined. His brilliance on screen and off have been the inspiration and motivation for many of my creative projects. Leslie Nielsen reminds us all that the world is a magical, wonderful, and best of all humorous place to live. And if anything, he has taught us above all else, that laughter is the most powerful tool the world has ever known - we just sometimes forget to use it.
Leslie Nielsen... you will be truly missed.
"I remember as a young man seeing Death of a Salesman, with Lee J. Cobb.
When the play was over, nobody in the audience moved. All you could hear was a little sniffling.
The silence was just overwhelming. It was a remarkable demonstration of the power of the theater.
I'll never forget that. Never."
"Yes, it's true, I've been called the Laurence Olivier of spoofs. I guess that would make
Laurence Olivier the Leslie Nielsen of Shakespeare."
"I have a fart machine that I usually bring with me. I was at a bar once, going down toward the john,
and these two guys were in a confrontation and things were getting a little dicey. As I got in
between the two of them, I said, "Where's the john? Is it straight back there?" Fffffhpppppffffft.
Well, these guys look at each other and then look at me, and they both start laughing.
Fight was over."
I've done Airplane!, three Naked Guns, Wrongfully Accused, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It.
The way I look at it, I've built my own little pyramid and it's gonna be around for as long as people have eyes to see."