Leslie Nielsen, the Canadian actor who had a long dramatic career before he was cast in "Airplane!" and as fictional LAPD Lt. Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun movies, died today in Fort Lauderdale of pneumonia complications. He was 84. In "Airplane!," Nielsen earned highlight clip immortality for responding to the set-up line, "Surely you can't be serious?," with "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." Creators Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker put the new deadpan version of Nielsen in their spoof TV series "Police Squad" and in the later movie spin-offs. In "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" — co-starring O.J. Simpson as Nordberg — in 1988, Drebin offends Queen Elizabeth by taking a leak in an L.A. City Hall bathroom while fully mic'd — and impersonates a baseball umpire while protecting the queen from a homicidal Reggie Jackson at Dodger Stadium. You had to be there, but a whole generation only knows that Nielsen even though he was in more than 100 movies and 1,500 television episodes, per Wikipedia. NYT, AP
OK, what's a Naked Gun story without some quotes:
Los Angeles mayor, played by Nancy Marchand: Now Drebin, I don't want any trouble like you had on the South Side last year, that's my policy.
Drebin: Well, when I see five weirdos, dressed in togas, stabbing a man in the middle of the park in full view of a hundred people, I shoot the bastards, that's *my* policy!
Mayor: That was a Shakespeare-In-The-Park production of 'Julius Caesar,' you moron! You killed five actors! Good ones!