Leslie Nielsen starred in two of my favorite movies of all-time, Airplane! and The Naked Gun. Sadly, he passed away this week. But I was lucky enough to have a fictional interview with him on September 31st. Here was the transcript:
ME: Welcome! Should I call you Leslie, Mr. Nielsen, Dr. Rumack?
ME: Thanks for coming. I hope you enjoyed the complimentary meal.
LESLIE: What was it we had for dinner tonight?
ME: Well, we had a choice of steak or fish.
LESLIE: Yes, yes, I remember, I had lasagna.
ME: So what is your background? You’re American?
LESLIE: No, Dutch-Irish. My father was from Wales.
ME: Going from serious roles to playing Dr. Rumack in Airplane! was a big chance to take, right?
LESLIE: I know. You take a chance getting up in the morning, crossing the street or sticking your face in a fan.
ME: But weren’t you afraid you would fail? I’d like to be a writer someday, but I’m afraid of rejection and sometimes I just want to give up.
LESLIE: Well, I don't have anything to say, you've done the best you could. You really have; the best you could. You can't expect to win ‘em all. But, I want to tell you something I've kept to myself through these years. I was in the war myself, medical corps. I was on late duty one night when they brought in a badly wounded pilot from one of the raids. He could barely talk. He looked at me and said, "The odds were against us up there, but we went in anyway, I'm glad the Captain made the right decision." The pilot's name was George Zip.
ME: George Zip said that?
LESLIE: The last thing he said to me, "Doc," he said, "some time when the crew is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to get out there and give it all they got and win just one for the Zipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Doc," he said, "but I won't smell too good, that's for sure."
ME: That's a great story. Speaking of stories, I’ve thought about selling out and writing a “Hollywood” script just to get my name out there. What do you think?
LESLIE: It's like eating a spoonful of Drano; sure, it'll clean you out, but it'll leave you hollow inside.
ME: You've been in Hollywood for years, what is it like dealing with screenwriters and producers and directors on a day-to-day basis and how do you survive?
LESLIE: I've been swimming in raw sewage, and I love it! I love it!
ME: I’ve heard acting can be dangerous…
LESLIE: It is. That's why I carry a big gun.
ME: Aren't you afraid it might go off accidentally?
LESLIE: I used to have that problem.
ME: What did you do about it?
LESLIE: I just think about baseball.
ME: What was it like working with OJ Simpson?
LESLIE: Interesting... almost as interesting as the photographs I saw today.
ME: How did you meet your first love?
LESLIE: It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day.
LESLIE: No, the worst.
ME: But you settled down and eventually had a family...
LESLIE: I've finally found someone I can love - and good, clean love... without utensils. I've noticed things that I never knew were there before... birds singing, dew glistening on a newly formed leaf, stoplights.
ME: But how did you know she was the “one?”
LESLIE: That delicately beautiful face. And a body that could melt a cheese sandwich from across the room. And breasts that seemed to say... "Hey! Look at these!" She was the kind of woman who made you want to drop to your knees and thank God you were a man! She reminded me of my mother, all right. No doubt about it.
ME: What should I say to a woman I’m interested in to get her attention?
LESLIE: It's a topsy-turvy world, and maybe the problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans. But this is our hill. And these are our beans!
ME: Surely, you can’t be serious.
LESLIE: I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.
ME: You’re a big fan of my blog, The Corner. Do you have any final words of wisdom for me?
LESLIE: I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you.
Trivia Q&A: September 16
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