Has any actor reinvented himself as successfully and effectively as Leslie Nielsen?
Okay, maybe John Travolta – from his “Up your nose with a rubber hose!” and Saturday Night Fever persona to what he is today.
But, with 1980’s “Airplane”, Leslie Nielsen veered off into over the top comedy, from the “standard leading man” type, and has had an amazing second career! Best highlighted by the series of “Naked Gun” movies.
As enjoyable as all that has been, I miss the “old” Leslie Nielsen.
The one that starred in the greatest ‘50s Sci-Fi film of them all: “Forbidden Planet”. This landmark film was the “father” of both STAR TREK TOS and LOST IN SPACE. You need only watch “Forbidden Planet” to see the profound influence it had on both TV series – and so much thereafter.
Indeed, Leslie Nielsen, as Commander Adams, was the PROTOTYPE for Captain James T. Kirk! The galaxy’s ultimate “good guy”.
And, in one of those things that is “just too much to be a coincidence”, Leslie Nielsen guest starred on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (in “The Creature” 1965) as “Captain Adams”! Aboard the submarine Seaview, he was a “bad good guy” – but, though seriously misguided, a “good guy” nonetheless.
Rest in peace, Leslie Nielsen… and thanks for all the great memories!