'Don't call me Shirley': Remember the late Leslie Nielsen with these classic clips

The world lost a comedy giant today with the passing of Leslie Nielsen, who died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 84. As my colleague Dan Snierson has pointed out, Nielsen had a long “straight” career and starred in a bona fide science fiction classic, 1956’s Forbidden Planet. But most of us will remember him for the brand of stony-faced lunacy he brought to such films as 1980’s Airplane! and the three Naked Gun movies (as well as the short-lived Police Squad! TV series which birthed the latter).

After the jump, you’ll find some of Nielsen’s funniest onscreen moments. Be warned, the collection contains nudity, a joke about a beaver, and another about dog poop. But I suspect the great man wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

And please do feel free to share your own personal favorite Nielsen moment.

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Leslie Nielsen, ‘Airplane!’ and ‘Naked Gun’ star, dies at 84

Comments (108 total) Add your comment
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  • Kiki

    He was a great actor and a great canadian, he made us proud RIP! :(

    • George

      Loved his comedies from the 80s, afterwards, i wasn’t too big on Naked Gun 33 1/3, The first one was great, Rest in Piece, Frank Drebin, you’ve earned it, thanks for making us laugh, go rent naked gun, and airplane to see him at his best.

  • Lindsay

    I just want to wish you both good luck. We’re all counting on you.

    • April

      While they are landing the plane!
      I can’t decide which is funnier-the landing scene in Airplane! or the baseball scene in Naked Gun

      RIP Mr. Nielsen

  • Sara

    I remember my parents always discussing her films. You will be missed Leslie, by all old people around the world. Of course no young people will have any idea who you are. Maybe you should have done a few films in recent times to consolidate your profile?

    • lori

      “I remember my parents always discussing her films”

      uhh, you do realize Leslie Nielson was a man right?

      HE’LL be missed! Was watching Naked Gun earlier today.

      • Linda

        Lori, my darling, Leslie Nielson is a man.

    • john

      you absolute tool! And why should someone have to make films in their 80’s so ignorant people posting on here should hear about them? Go rent Naked Gun or Airplane and watch a comedy legend in his prime.. RIP Frank Drebbin

    • Brendan

      really? you have no idea who this legend is?

    • Susie

      Jesus, Sara, nothing like writing publicly just to see your name in print, huh?!?!

      Christ, Leslie Nielsen was a MAN. And who the hell are these “OLD people” about whom you speak?!?!?!

      And then go on with the audacity to write to him, as if he were still alive, and CRITICIZE him for not keeping his name in the limelight?!?!?!?!?!

      Sara, Sara, Sara…

      You need help, boy!

    • Amy

      I hope you’re a troll, because I refuse to believe such stupidity exists in the world.

      Leslie Nielsen was a MAN, for starters.

      And he was doing films all the way up to his death. If you don’t know who is he and claim that “no young person knows who he is” then you’re a moron who doesn’t get out much.

    • Jose de Leon

      Surely this one of the best tributes to the comedic genius of the great Leslie Nielsen that I’ve seen. She will be missed.

      Oh, I’m sorry, your name is Sara, not Shirley…!

      (I’m amazed that people failed to recognize Sara’s comment as the same type of deadpan pun humor that made Leslie Nielsen famous, especially to young people… Society really did start to fall when they gave stupid people computers.)

      • Morgan Freeman

        Yeah, intentionally or not, it is a very Nielsen-esque line.

      • PJM

        Well, now you know why Leslie Nielsen can do that humor and Sara can’t.

      • RyanK

        I was thinking the same thing about Sara’s comment. Jokes don’t always work via text only…

    • Nick

      you ae what us normal folks call RETARDED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Clifton

      He DID do some recent movies Sara! I guess Scary Movie 3 and 4 are just too old for you.

  • Dana

    don’t you mean his films

  • Robert A. Rimmer

    I’m 26 and I’ve been a fan of his since childhood when I watched Airplane and, slightly later, the Naked Gun trilogy.

    If children miss out on Nielsen’s deadpan hilarity, that’s their loss.

    • reel_deal

      I’m 19, Nielsen, paired with Mel Brooks, cartoons, The Drew Carey Show + Whose Line and Home Improvement were my childhood comedy options

    • MW

      “It’s not goodbye forever. It’s just I’ll never see you again.”

      Perhaps it’s tasteless, but it’s one of my favorite lines ever. Goodbye, Leslie Nielsen, and thank you for all of the laughs. My childhood was definitely a lot more fun because of you.

  • Garnet

    Wow I am ashamed to post anything after the person “Sara”, I mean how brain dead are you!! Leslie Nielsen is a man, if your parents really talked about HIS films you would know that!!
    Great disrespect to an amazing actor who began his career as a drama actor first.
    You will “shirley” be missed.

  • tracy bluth

    RIP, Dr. Rumack.

  • amie

    RIP Leslie. Like a blind man in an orgy, you could always feel your way through. You will be missed.

  • Al

    Saskatchewan’s second favorite son (after Gordie Howe). He’ll be missed.

  • PJM

    I feel like I just had a spoonful of drain cleaner. Sure, it cleaned me out, but it left me hollow inside.

    RIP, Leslie. Hope you smell a lot better than George Zipp.

  • MWeyer

    “By the way. I faked every orgasm.”

    • Susie

      Oh, man, I totally, TOTALLY forgot about that insanely funny line!

      Thank you for getting me to laugh during my sadness.

  • tony

    R.I.P…. one of the GREAT ones … ” like a midget at a urinal … I’m gonna have to be on my toes “

  • sarah

    R.I.P Dracula. Mel Brooks got the right choice for the movie Dracula Dead and Loving It. You made that movie for what it is! we will dearly miss you!!!

    • Ali K

      One my favorite lines of his is the scene he’s a voiceover in, hypnotizing Mina to leave her room and come to him. She goes through a door…
      “Mina, you are in the closet.”
      Not the greatest movie, but that sure had me cracking up.

  • bmc111

    I was sad by the news of the death of a supper star like Leslie.

  • Vince

    Everyone talks about his older films “hello” remember lots of the films are on DVD, cable etc

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