I still remember laughing so hard at The Naked Gun movie in the theatre. My dad had all 6 "Police Squad" episodes on VHS and we'd watch every now and then. Thanks for the laughs, Leslie.
Frank: It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day.
Frank: No, the worst.
The star of "The Naked Gun," "Airplane!" and other movies that made use of his square-jawed looks and comic timing, who died Sunday, tooled around town in an eye-catching antique Bentley. But otherwise he lived a low-key life in Fort Lauderdale, socializing with friends and traveling frequently with his wife, Barbaree.
"I was at the pool this morning, and there were people who were very surprised that he lived in the building," said his neighbor Margaret Farragher.
"He was a very pleasant guy," she said. "Our children know every line of his movies, and he was delightful to them."
Bob Bell, a general contractor who lives on an adjacent floor, became friends with Nielsen after meeting him at a photo shoot at the pool.
"He's very laid back and fun, just like you see him on film," said Bell, whose Facebook page displays a photo of himself and Nielsen with Point of Americas in the background. "They traveled quite a bit. They had a place in Arizona, and they always traveled extensively. Last time I ran into them they were going on a two-week cruise."
Bell said Nielsen displayed a sense of humor in keeping with his movie lines. (When a character in "Airplane!" says "Surely you can't be serious?" he responds with a deadpan, "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.")
One evening, Bell recalled, Nielsen and his wife were planning on duck for dinner. "He kept ducking," Bell said. "Every time someone said the word 'duck' he would duck."
And on his birthday, Bell received a card from Nielsen and his wife that said, "Another year older? Surely you can't be serious."
Posted this on my facebook, but let's not forget he was a DAMN fine actor, totally outshining Cesare here, and it's Cesare's screen test! It's funny, Leslie was pretty much 100% in Ben-Hur then almost literally the day before shooting he was replaced. I wonder if his career would have been different.
I feel he gets the 'Charles Bronson Treatment' these days, where people just remember his later roles and totally forget he was an all time great actor (not Leslie, Charles. I feel as if Leslie didn't get the chance to show us his great acting chops enough, but when he did he was great).
Growing up he was one of my idols. A grown man, with the sense of humor of an early teenager essentially. What kid DOESN'T want to be like that? Plus how easy going and fun loving he was in his interviews. Just seemed like an all class guy.
I bought all of his movies, then as I got older started getting into his back catalog of "serious" movies as people call them. Charlton Heston and Leslie in Counterpoint, or the one he did with Robert Mitchum and then there's him and Glen Ford in Ransom.
I always knew he was old, but he was one of those guys that just always seemed to pop up randomly, be it in a movie, or in conversation, or something. Just never thought he'd pop up randomly as being dead now :/