I was quite distraught to visit IMDB yesterday only to read that Leslie Nielsen had passed away. He, along with Mel Brooks and Monty Python, were the driving influences in forming my sense of humor as a kid. In elementary school, a teacher asked us who we would like to have dinner with, living or dead, and I chose Leslie Nielson. I took in all of his films for a while, from Airplane! to Mr. Magoo (imagine my excitement when he teamed up with Mel Brooks for Dracula: Dead and Loving It!). Even his Bad Golf… videos and book are hilarious. By coincidence, I found his “biography,” The Naked Truth, at Goodwill about a month ago and a quick flip through practically demanded I buy it. Now, it’s jumped to the top of my reading list as my little tribute to one of my boyhood idols.
While not quite as personal for me, there are millions of people for whom Irvin Kirshner holds a special place. After all, he did direct The Empire Strikes Back which, as is my understanding, is wildly regarded as the best of the Star Wars films.