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Surely the six best Leslie Nielsen lines

November 29, 2010 |  1:20 pm

He became known as a serious actor in the 1950s and then reinvented his career with spoofy turns in “Airplane!," “Police Squad” and “The Naked Gun” in the 1980's and '90s. Leslie Nielsen, who died Sunday at the age of 84, was part of numerous comedies and even more water-cooler conversations. He didn’t write his trademark lines, but you wonder if we’d remember any of them if he didn’t deliver them in his daffy deadpan.

Herewith, then, a quick study in Nielsenology. Your contributions welcome.

--The hospital quip. (“A hospital? What is it?” “It's a big building with patients but that's not important right now.”) Admittedly an overused one compared to his other misplaced-modifier specials (“That's the red-light district. I wonder why Savage is hanging around down there.” “Sex, Frank?” "Uh, not right now, Ed.") But still a classic.

--The political Leslie, as evidenced in an exchange with George Bush in “Naked Gun.” “Frank, please consider filling a post I'm creating. It may mean long hours and dangerous nights, surrounded by some of the scummiest elements in our society.” “You want me to be in your cabinet?” Before the tea party, apparently, there was Leslie Nielsen.

--The Goodyear blimp gag. “It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girl dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day.” “Goodyear?” “No, the worst.” Never fails to get a laugh. Who else could pull off wordplay involving vulcanized rubber?

--The moment-of-panic Leslie, with a who’s-on-first spin. “Captain, how soon can you land?” “I'm just not sure.”  “Well, can't you take a guess?” “Well, not for another two hours." “You can't take a guess for another two hours?”

--The standard-bearer. "Can you fly this plane and land it?" "Surely you can't be serious." "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley."

--And finally, not from a movie, but somehow appropriate the day after Nielsen's passing. “Doing nothing is very hard to do -- you never know when you're finished.”

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Leslie Nielsen in "The Naked Gun." Credit: Paramount Pictures


Leslie Nielsen dies

Comments () | Archives (43)

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I am sorry to hear about one the my all-time favorite comedians passing away. I thought he would always be here. He is a LEGEND! I will miss you.

Thing is, he didn't even need great lines. He could crack me up just moving his eyeballs back and forth.

"I can hold my breath for a loooonggg time!"

numerous comedies

Yup, a great guy. He will be missed, but we still have all these great lines. Thanks to you all for posting them. I laughed thru my lunch.

Naked Gun 33 1/3:

"This is your last chance. And not one of those Major League Baseball, Steve Howe kinds of last chances."

"Jane, its a crazy world and the problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans...but this is our hill, and these are our beans."

First they came for Barbara Billingsley, now Leslie Nielsen. Did anyone else have the fish?

On crossing the bay to the boat "Isle of View"

Ed: Do you wanna take a dinghy?
Frank: No, I took care of that at the press conference.

(and his radio microphone was on at the time.)

One of my favorites was when he's looking for some evidence of a case, and he reaches in between two crates/boxes, and he says: "Bingo!".....like he's just found a crucial piece of evidence, and he pulls out a Bingo card.

The best line and most appropriate after his death is, "Cheer up, Ed. This is not goodbye. It's just I won't ever see you again."

Naked Gun 33 ½: The Final Insult (1994) – Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen)

Leslie Nielsen, how could any one not love him! My family had a lot of laughs and great memories and will cherish all his movies we own! He will be missed. Our condolences to his friends and family. He will have them in stitches in heaven!!!

From "Naked Gun" The movie:
Leslie suprises a man and woman having dinner.

Woman: "Frank!"
Man: "Drebin!"
Drebin: "You're both right."
Man: "Funny, I don't recall seeing your name on the guest list."
Drebin: "That's because I sometimes go by my maiden name."

What about from Naked Gun - 'Nice beaver' - reply 'thanks, I just had it stuffed'...

"I've been swimming in raw sewage... I love it!"

Naked Gun 2 1/2

I didn't see it mentioned and haven't seen it mentioned anywhere since he died but does anyone remember "Dracula dead and loving it"? I loved that movie and he was just so funny in it!

He was just too funny. No matter how many times I watched a movie I would still laugh!!!!! He'll be missed.

what about "nice beaver"

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