Edit
Ozzie Nelson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (12)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 20 March 1906Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Date of Death 3 June 1975Hollywood, California, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameOswald George Nelson

Mini Bio (1)

This preeminent sitcom dad of the 50s had already started things off studying law when he decided to put together a dance band in the 20s on the sly. The band was so successful that he never looked back -- his love for entertaining completely took over. The New Jersey-born performer made a living for a time playing hotels and casinos on the East coast, capitalizing on an easy-going singing style. In 1932 Harriet Nelson came aboard as lead vocalist of his band and their easy rapport together provided some marvelous spontaneous comedy relief that clicked with audiences. They married in 1935 and soon extended their popularity to radio (with Red Skelton, among others) and a few WWII musical films such as Sweetheart of the Campus (1941), Strictly in the Groove (1942), Honeymoon Lodge (1943) and Take It Big (1944). Determined to maintain a strong family unit as their family grew, they integrated their two careers into one and seldom worked apart after this.

They were a huge hit together with the family radio program "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" in 1944 with two young actors playing their sons. When the show transferred to TV in 1952, their real-life sons, David Nelson and Ricky Nelson, were incorporated. This landmark show lasted 14 years, a record unbroken for what is considered America's first "reality" TV sitcom. Although Ozzie's dad character came off stammering, hesitant and slightly absent-minded, which meshed perfectly with Harriet's smart, wisecracking appeal, he was anything but offstage. A dynamo and workaholic as well as shrewd businessman, he supervised his show completely as producer, director, and editor. He virtually put son Ricky on the map as a pop singing idol via his sitcom, incorporating the boy's musical talents into various plots.

Ozzie's interests invariably spread to other aspects of show business as well. He and Harriet occasionally toured together on the theater stage in such light-hearted vehicles as "The Marriage-Go-Round." Later on he took on the role of producer and director for some of TV's more popular shows. Older son David followed in his father's footsteps as a producer and director. In the early 70s Ozzie and Harriet attempted another TV series entitled Ozzie's Girls (1973), which was syndicated to local stations, but the show had an outdated feel to it and lasted a mere season. One of his very few failures. Ozzie died in Laguna Beach, California of liver cancer in 1975 at age 69.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Harriet Nelson (8 October 1935 - 3 June 1975) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (12)

Father, with singer-actress Harriet Nelson Nelson, of actor-director David Nelson and of actor-singer Ricky Nelson.
Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Hollywood, California, USA, on the right as you enter, on the steep slope under the third tree, two rows below son Ricky Nelson.
Before they got their own radio show (1944), Ozzie and Harriet were regulars on Red Skelton's radio show.
Shortly before his death, Ozzie Nelson published his autobiography, in which he shocked many of his Bible-belt fans by revealing that he was a lifelong atheist.
At the age of 13, he became one of the youngest persons to become an Eagle Scout.
His portrayal of himself on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952), was ranked #21 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [20 June 2004 issue].
Son of Swedish immigrants.
He graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with a Bachelors degree and earned a law degree from Rutgers Newark School of Law in Newark, New Jersey in 1930.
Was made a doctor of humane letters by Rutgers University in 1957.
He and Harriet were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6260 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Pictured with wife Harriet Nelson Nelson on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue, honoring The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952).
Brother of Don Nelson.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page