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Leslie Nielsen at the Law School? Surely you can't be serious.

December 15, 2010

Indira Gandhi.  Sandra Day O'Connor. Leslie Nielsen.

While one of these things is not like the other, over the years Penn Law School has hosted its fair share of luminaries that have a wide range of cultural associations.  In October 1999, the actor Leslie Nielsen (who passed away last month) paid a visit to campus, stopping by the Law School to participate in a panel discussion coordinated by former Penn Law Assistant Professor Peter Huang as part of a course he was teaching at the time called "Law and Popular Culture."  Nielsen was invited to discuss his preparation and research for "Leslie Nielsen as Clarence Darrow," a one-man performance held in Penn's Irvine Auditorium the same week. 

The Penn Law Journal covered the event, even capturing a photograph of the man holding forth about his role as the famed Scopes Monkey Trial defender and his perspectives on Hollywood. Below is a digitized image of the Penn Law Journal article that originally ran in the Winter 2000 issue.  This appears to be the best available record of Nielsen's visit to Penn Law School, as no known historical material remains.  (If you have any leads, please, contact me.)  Funnyman, dramatic actor, and Penn Law panelist: Leslie Nielsen was a veritable renaissance man. 

Thanks to my colleague, Ben Meltzer, who serendipitously came across this article while working on an unrelated research project.

"Hollywood, Darrow and Penn Law School," Penn Law Alumni Journal, Winter 2000