Earlier tonight, I read on twitter that veteran character actor and Prom Night co-star Leslie Nielsen had passed away. While people seem to know him best as a former “serious” actor turned deadpan comedian, it is forgotten that Nielsen was — during the 70s — an exploitation and grindhouse mainstay.
Along with playing Jamie Lee Curtis’s father (and no-nonsense high school principal) in Prom Night, Nielsen was also the star of the kung fu classic Project: Kill and the bad guy in Day of the Animals.
The clip below comes from Day of the Animals and it shows Nielsen at his exploitation best:
Here’s a little bit of the movie history trivia that I live for: In 1959, along with famously auditioning for a role in Ben-Hur, Nielsen also came close to being cast in another iconic film. He was among the finalists for the role of Sam Loomis (eventually played by John Gavin) in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.