29 November 2010

WATCH: RIP Leslie Nielsen, honorary West Virginian

In 2002 West Virginia state officials named "Airplane" and "Naked Gun" actor Leslie Nielsen an honorary West Virginian. "I really feel that when I come back here," said Nielsen, who died Nov. 28, at the age of 84.

According to the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, Nielsen first came to West Virginia to golf and became involved with the education system through a friend, he said at the time. Nielsen grinned as the [honorary West Virginian] citation was read, and asked why he was being honored for enjoying the scenery of West Virginia. “To have the privilege to come here and spend time in this beautiful state... you’re going to give me a citation for that?” he said. “Well, I’m not going to give it back.”

In fact, I met Nielsen in 2004, when I was hired to take photos of his visit with the Charleston Alley Cats baseball team. He had a fart-noise toy that he used on everyone there, and it never got old watching the old man up to his tricks. He was a gentleman and it was a pleasure to chat with him. To celebrate Nielsen's life of making us laugh, here are some of his hits.

And my personal favorite, courtesy of George A. Romero and Stephen King:

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