| Lists |

RIP Leslie Nielsen: our five favorite clips

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Eternally white-haired king of the spoof Leslie Nielsen passed away yesterday at the age of 84, due to complications from pneumonia. His best-known roles varied from the science-fiction classic Forbidden Planet to Airplane!, the king of all cinematic parodies; through that movie, he helped start a movement that eventually led to terrible parody-genre films like Scary Movie, along with its umpteen sequels, and Vampires Suck, but none of them have been able to capture his deadpan delivery, charming wit and undeniable charisma. Even his autobiography, Naked Truth, rivals James Frey in its truth-bending: It details an affair with Elizabeth Taylor, his "two Academy Awards" and other nonsense, but captures his persona in a way no real autobiography ever could.

5. Farts on a morning show

This scene proves once and for all that Nielsen was funny even when he didn't have a script. You have to give credit to the hosts for playing along, too, especially the gal that's out in the field at the end.

4. Enrico Palazzo sings the National Anthem - Naked Gun

It seems like a goofy spoof scene at first, until you realize that Nielsen sings the National Anthem about as well as you could.

3. "I'm a locksmith" - Police Squad!

This is the type of deadpan delivery that Nielsen was best known for. It's all about interpreting comments literally and cracking wise in the same way the best dads can.

2. Baseball scene - Naked Gun

Baseball is a weird sport to watch if you don't really know what's going on. The above scene is like some wacky interpretation by people who've never seen the sport, all while playing into the game's penchant for cheating. Of course, the whole steroid-abuse thing had not kicked in yet, so it's filled with nods to old-school cheating methods.

1. "Don't call me Shirley." - Airplane!

It's just classic. Plain and simple. So classic that nearly every obituary has used the line somewhere.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.