Reggie Jackson's Response To The Queen's Death Lifts Spirits In The Most Unlikely Way

On September 8, 2022, the death of Queen Elizabeth II sent shock waves across the Realm. Even in countries that aren't part of the Commonwealth and have no real connection to the British monarchy (or indeed any monarchy, for that matter). For example, in the U.S., President Joe Biden issued a statement that read (via the White House website), "The seven decades of her history-making reign bore witness to an age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity."

The occasion was not necessarily one that lends itself to humor and wisecracking, but 1970s-era baseball star Reggie Jackson made a joke, of a sort, about his connection to the former queen. Jackson's jape came not from a place of snark or hostility, but from love. In a tweet, the former outfielder referenced a time he and "Queen Elizabeth" (it was, of course, just an actress portraying her) appeared in a movie together.

'I Must Kill The Queen'

For those who completely missed Reggie Jackson's joke, here's the context (via SB Nation). The writers of the movie "The Naked Gun," Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker, had a tendency to use famous athletes in their films as comic fodder. For example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared in "Airplane!," and O.J. Simpson appeared in "The Naked Gun." Jackson also appeared in that film, specifically (per IMDb) as an anonymous California Angels player and not as himself (he had actually been a California Angels player right up until his final season, which wrapped before he appeared in the film).

In the film, Jackson's character is hypnotized and compelled to assassinate the queen (Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker films weren't known for their realism). As he mindlessly points a gun at Her Majesty (portrayed by actress Jeannette Charles), he blithely says, "I must kill the queen," only for the day to be saved at the last possible moment (there will be no more spoilers).

In a tweet, Jackson referenced his place in cinema history. "Now we all know I was innocent! Amen! RIP Queen E !" he quipped. The joke got a mixed reaction, not necessarily because anyone was shouting "Too soon!" but because some people didn't get the joke. "I feel like I'm too young to understand this tweet," quipped one user, while another noted that he had a Reggie Jackson baseball card onto which Jackson himself had written, "I must kill the queen" before signing his name.