Disaster Films

Leslie Nielsen: Actor best known for ‘Airplane!’ and the

Leslie Nielsen spent years as a journeyman actor, a reliable but bland leading man on television and in films who would be best remembered now for his role as a space-ship captain in the cult science-fiction film Forbidden Planet (1956) had he not been cast in Airplane!, the hilarious pastiche of disaster movies that revealed a delightfully droll and unexpected flair for comedy and made him a major star. The American Film Institute lists Airplane! as one of the 10 best comedies, and in its list of 100 memorable quotes, at No 79 is the exchange in which Nielsen is asked, "Surely, you can't be serious?" and replies, "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." He said later: "I thought it was amusing, but it never occurred to me that it was going to be a trademark."