Friday, December 3, 2010

" I Am Serious, and Don't Call Me Shirley."

I was never a big soap opera guy, but my mother was a huge 'Peyton Place' fan back in the day. I, on the other hand, preferred westerns such as 'The Virginian.' But, I do recall one actor with fondness who appeared in both, and went on to become iconic for, ironically enough, turning his serious persona into one of an hysterical straight man in pictures such as 'Airplane' and 'Naked Gun.'

I remember Leslie Nielsen well for all his great dramatic and super funny work. But, I will remember the late, great Leslie, whom we just lost at the age of 84, for something more personal...

A few years back, while living in West Hartford, Connecticut, raising two kids as a single parent and before meeting my wonderful wife, I was standing on the front porch of my condo contemplating how much life stunk. Well, the Greater Hartford Open golf event was happening that week. One of my neighbors happened to be working the event, and guess who was a guest at his home? Leslie Nielsen!

I saw him walking in the turnabout and did a double take. I've been around celebrities mall my life, but this was out of the clear blue.

I grabbed my son, who was in middle school at the time, and told him there was someone outside he might want to meet. He grudgingly tore himself away from the playstation, came outside, and...beamingly...exclaimed " Frank Drebin!!"

Then, Leslie said, in his classic style, "That's officer Drebin, son." Beautiful. Made our whole day!

So,'s to you, old friend. Thanks for the memories. Rest in in peace, and I won't call you Shirley. :)