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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Hays’

Airplane! ’s Robert Hays Gets Serious at the Greek Theatre

Thirty-two years later, the classic 1980 comedy Airplane! still follows actor Robert Hays wherever he goes. And surely, he must be fine with that.

The movie was front and center in a recent Hays profile piece in The Desert Sun and again last night when the actor was introduced at EEK! at the Greek by event maestro Arthur B. Rubinstein. Hays was there, post-Intermission, to read Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” to original, musical accompaniment.

And what a great job the actor did, with a full moon shining above center stage. Beamed out on the Greek Theatre’s stage-flanking giant screens in spooky black and white, Hays put the full force of his dramatic training into Poe’s first-person narrative about a man whose guilt over a murder leads him to upset a carefully conceived plan. Earlier in the evening’s program, actress Anne-Marie Johnson (In The Heat of the Night, That’s So Raven) applied an equally sonorous spin to the Mary Howitt poem “The Spider and the Fly.”

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Leslie Nielsen, RIP

Famed comic actor Leslie Nielsen died Sunday at a Florida hospital from complications from pneumonia. He was 84.

The Canadian-born actor is best known for his roles in the films Airplane! and The Naked Gun trilogy. The part in Airplane! proved to be pivotal for Nielsen, who had at that time built his career on dramatic roles. Airplane! provided an introduction for Nielsen as a comic force, as well as one of the most famous movie quotes of all time:

Robert Hays: “Surely you can’t be serious?”
Nielsen: “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”

Nielsen’s career stretched over six decades. He got his start performing on live television in New York. He came to Hollywood in the mid-1950s and began working in film. His early work included Forbidden Planet, Tammy and the Bachelor with Debbie Reynolds, and most notably a role as ship captain in The Poseidon Adventure.

Nielsen’s more recent films include Spy Hard, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and Mr. Magoo.