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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Today With A Heavy Heart ...

Actor and modern-day slapstick genius Leslie Nielsen left us ... his fans ... today at the age of 84 from complications from pneumonia.

Nielsen, the son on a Royal Canadian "Mountie" and a Welsh housewife, trained in radio and broadcast arts because of his distinct and resonant voice. Anyone you ask will remember him for his various film and TV antics over the years, but I will remember him the most as the handsome Commander John Adams from "Forbidden Planet," a groundbreaking sci-fi film from 1956 that introduced audiences to newly-developed special effects and the iconic Robby the Robot. And of course, I officially started my Nielsen "bromance" with "Airplane!" and his deadpan performance as Dr. Rumack.

When I heard the news about the silver-haired celebrity's death, I started researching his career and realized that he and my entertainment needs have intersected more times than I ever would have guessed.

His motion picture career is vast and varied from flicks like "Tammy and the Bachelor" (opposite Debbie Reynolds) and "The Poseidon Adventure" to the funny and familiar farces of "The Naked Gun" films, "Mr. Magoo," two installments of the "Scary Movie" franchise, "Superhero Movie," "Soul Man," and "The Patriot" ... just to name a few.

And television ... the man was everywhere. He was big on all the hit action dramas of the late '60s and early '70s like "Bonanza," "Hawaii Five-O," "Columbo," "M*A*S*H," and "The Streets of San Francisco." I also remember him fondly from re-runs of "Murder, She Wrote" and "Who's The Boss." And damn if Mr. Leslie Nielsen didn't marry Dorothy and break up the fabulous foursome known as "The Golden Girls."

I also went on the Internet to see what other fans were saying and one individual summed up what was in my heart much more succinctly than I ever could. This man commented that "Nielsen had the courage to take on roles that some might have seen as goofy or trivial and made them shine like diamonds. His kind of talent is a rarity."

POINT OF RANT: I can never hear the name "Shirley" without thinking of you, Leslie! Godspeed.

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