This morning brought the sad news that comic actor Leslie Nielsen died yesterday in Florida from complications related to pneumonia. He was 84.
His great body of work lives on, however. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Airplane!, the film that ushered in the second phase of his career, as he transformed from drab but earnest character actor into deadpan comic ingenue. In the classic spoof film, Nielsen poured his well-honed skills at playing no-nonsense authority figures into Dr. Rumack, the medic called on when the plane's crew are stricken by a mysterious bug. The film was a huge hit, and Nielsen followed the same writer / producer team into further success with Police Squad! and the Naked Gun trilogy.
As part of Loco, the London Comedy Film Festival, two of the men responsible for those films, Jerry and David Zucker, will appear at a special event at the Prince Charles Cinema. They'll take part in a Q&A session, followed by a screening of Airplane! Though it was arranged before Nielsen's passing, the event will be coloured by the late actor's remarkable career. Expect anecdotes and fond reminiscence.