Monday, November 29, 2010


It occurs me that, if you could travel back in time to say, 1975, & tell people that in 2010 a black man would be President of the United States, & that most American homes would be equipped with computers, & that Leslie Nielsen's death would be mourned as the passing of a fairly major comedy star, your listeners might be most incredulous about that last item.

RIP to the Canadian-born movie & TV fixture, who has passed on at 84. Nielsen spent decades playing handsome, stolid authority figures in films like Forbidden Planet, Tammy and the Bachelor & The Poseidon Adventure, as well as occasional villains. He was known by friends & coworkers to have a silly sense of humor, but it wasn't until his role in 1980's Airplane! that he really got to show it onscreen. Once it was clear that he was he was a straightfaced goofball, he jumped onto the new career track & rode it to comedy stardom.

But he didn't completely abandon dramatic acting: In the '90s my pal Dave & I were lucky enough to see him perform a one-man show as Clarence Darrow at the Orpheum in Phoenix.  He was first-rate, overcoming the audience's scattered giggles in a matter of minutes.

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