Actor Leslie Nielsen died at age 84, on November 28, 2010, of complications from pneumonia. He was a late bloomer. His comedic roles in the movies, Airplane and the Naked Gun series gave him fame and fortune in his later years.
In 1999, I had an opportunity to photograph him when he spoke at the Penn Law School. Nielsen had a serious side and used his Hollywood earnings to present a one man show on the early twentieth century lawyer, Clarence Darrow. Darrow is famous for defending a teacher on trial for teaching evolution in the 1920s Scopes Monkey trial in Tennessee. Darrow was also against the death penalty and defended many people in capital cases including Leopold and Loeb, wealthy Chicago teenagers who kidnapped and killed a younger boy.
Retrieving the 1999 image of Nielsen from my archive is illustrative of how much the technology of image making has changed in eleven years. The original is a color negative that was in a job jacket in my studio attic. Once I found the negative, I scanned it, a process that took me around fifteen minutes. A digital original would have been much quicker to find, view and post.
At the end of the day, technology only matters so much, Nielsen's deadpan comedic delivery brings laughs or groans, whether on film, DVD or youtube.