Tag Archives: Hollywood Motion Picture Museum

Debbie Reynolds: Leslie Nielsen Has Me to Thank for His Comedy Career

CAPTION: Lightening up: Late-'50s Leslie looking a little less Lee Strasberg.

Leslie in '57, looking a bit less Lee Strasberg—and more Jerry Lewis.

Though most under-40 moviegoers know Leslie Nielsen as that funnyman from the Naked Gun flicks, he began his career hoping to follow in the footsteps of such heavies as Marlon Brando, Monty Clift and Paul Newman.

But all that changed when co-star Debbie Reynolds encouraged him to tackle an unfamiliar genre.

Interviewed on Movie Addict Headquarters, Debbie recalls how Leslie initially balked at signing on for the 1957 musical rom-com Tammy and the Bachelor.

“Leslie was fresh from New York. He came from The Actors Studio and he thought doing Tammy—a simple little story with a goat and Walter Brennan and Debbie Reynolds—was really corny,” she tells host Betty Jo Tucker.

“He didn’t want Continue reading