I have a vivid picture in my head of myself at around age twelve. I was at my grandparent's house on a Sunday afternoon, and I walked back into my grandparent's room where the kids watched movies (because grandpa always watched football or some other sport in the living room).
They were watching a movie about a cop who was always screwing up, was really goofy and at the same time completely endearing (no, I didn't know what that word meant at twelve).
My older cousins thought it was hilarious, so of course I did as well. After this, every time it came on television I watched it, determined to learn all of the funny parts so my cousins would think I was cool like them. Somewhere around the 15th time, I started getting the jokes and I suddenly came to a realization: this guy was hilarious.
Thus began an admiration of one of the funniest silly guys in Hollywood: Leslie Nielsen. He cracked me up in Airplane!, then as Lt. Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun films (which many people don't know were based on a television series called Police Squad!).
After he became known as the spoof guy, he had small roles in tons of films, but his most popular were, of course, more spoof movies. There was Spy Hard, Dracula: Dead and Loving It and Mr. Magoo. I was thrilled when he showed up in Scary Movie 3 and 4, too. It was like Christmas!
Unfortunately, this awesome dude passed away this week at the ripe old age of 84. Although I'm sad he's gone, at least I know he'll live on in film. Love ya, Frank!