R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen had a long, distinguished career in the entertainment business, playing a variety of roles. Like most people my age, though, I'm mostly familiar with the second act of that career, in which his serious demeanor was put to effective use in comedy, thanks to David & Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrams in the movie Airplane!, the Police Squad! TV series, and its later spin-off Naked Gun films. I prefer early-funny Nielsen, with his deadpan reactions to (and eventual acceptance of) the zaniness going on around him, rather than participating in the mugging for the camera that would come in some of his later comedic material, but Nielsen was always a fun presence, and based on all I've heard, a classy guy, to boot. He palled around with Robby the Robot and married Dorothy Zbornak, but no one ever actually called him Shirley. Thanks for everything, Mr. Nielsen.

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