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Ricky Nelson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (32)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Teaneck, New Jersey, USA
Died in De Kalb, Texas, USA  (plane crash)
Birth NameEric Hilliard Nelson
Height 5' 11½" (1.82 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ricky Nelson was born on May 8, 1940 in Teaneck, New Jersey, USA as Eric Hilliard Nelson. He was an actor, known for The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952) and Rio Bravo (1959). He was married to Kristin Harmon. He died on December 31, 1985 in De Kalb, Texas, USA.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Capo Kaitlin

Family (2)

Spouse Kristin Harmon (20 April 1963 - 27 December 1982)  (divorced)  (4 children)
Parents Nelson, Ozzie
Harriet Nelson

Trade Mark (2)

He slowly bats his eyes in a longing, 'come hither' fashion while singing
Refused to shave his hairy chest.

Trivia (32)

Younger brother of actor/director David Nelson.
He was engaged to Helen Blair at the time of his death. She was killed in the plane crash with him and his band.
Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA, on the right as you walk in, on the steep slope under the third tree, two rows above Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Nelson.
Johnny Cash wrote the song "Restless Kid" for him to sing in Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo (1959). However, music director Dimitri Tiomkin insisted that Nelson perform the folk song "Cindy" and Dimitri Tiomkin's own "My Rifle, My Pony, and Me". Johnny Cash's evocative "Restless Kid", which sums up Ricky's Rio Bravo (1959) character "Colorado" in less than two minutes, never appeared in the film. Instead, it was released on Nelson's third album, "Ricky Sings Again" (Imperial LP 9061 [mono]/Imperial LP 12090 [stereo], 1959).
Ex-brother-in-law of Mark Harmon and Kelly Harmon.
When Rick Nelson appeared at The Rock Revival at Madison Square Garden in 1971, he was unaware that he was to appear in clothing from the era of the height of his popularity. Not aware of this, he appeared in contemporary clothing and was booed for it. As a result of this, he wrote the hit song "Garden Party".
Elected to the Rock and Roll Hall Fame in 1987.
One of the most popular teen idols on the late 1950's and early 1960's, his many hit records, primarily on the Imperial and American Decca labels, include "I'm Walkin'", "Travelin' Man", "Poor Little Fool", "For You", "Fools Rush In", "It's Late", and "Garden Party". Most of these songs were originally introduced on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952) TV show.
Ever since his death in a private plane crash on New Year's Eve, 1985, it had been speculated that the fire that caused the crash was the result of drug use - supposedly freebasing cocaine - either by Nelson himself or by one of his crew. This theory has since been discredited by, among other sources, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board in their official report on the crash. Their evidence shows that the cause originally given for the crash (an on-board heater short-circuiting and catching fire) is the correct one.
Ranked #2 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" (23 January 2005 issue).
He was voted the 91st Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artist of all time by Rolling Stone.
Was the first teen idol to use television as a way to promote hit records. His version of "I'm Walkin' " made #4 on the Billboard singles chart and sold over a million copies after he performed it on TV.
His hit single "Garden Party," which reached #6 in the fall of 1972 and went gold, was about his experience during a Madison Square Garden concert. In fact, when he sang the lyric "But if memories were all I sang, I'd rather drive a truck," he meant it.
He at first had no ambition to be a rock singer. When a girlfriend told him that she was in love with Elvis Presley, Rick told her that he was a rock singer, too. He hurriedly cut a cover of Fats Domino's song "I'm Walkin'", which became a big hit and started his musical career.
Friends with John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Biography in "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 596-599. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
Ex-son-in-law of Tom Harmon and Elyse Knox.
Ricky's children Tracy Nelson, Matthew Nelson, and Gunnar Nelson always maintained that their father's 1985 plane crash death was the result of a malfunctioning heater and not of alleged drug use on board the plane.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1515 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
Was one of two rock stars who never appeared on American Bandstand (1952). The other was Elvis Presley, although he did speak by phone to host Dick Clark on January 8, 1960, his 25th birthday, during his time overseas in the Army (1958-1960). He accepted a Special Award for "1959 Record Of The Year" for "A Big Hunk Of Love"/"My Wish Came True", a two-sided hit from from the summer of 1959. Little Richard did not appear on "Bandstand" until 1964, when rock'n'roll was in its second generation and "Bandstand" had left its after-school format and moved from Philadelphia to LA.
He performed his debut single "I'm Walkin", a cover of Fats Domino's mega-hit, on "The Perry Como Kraft Music Hall" in 1957. In addition to films, from 1958-1965 he performed his songs for the TV audience only on "The Adventures of "Ozzie And Harriet", until 1966, when he appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show".
When "Billboard" first introduced the "Hot 100" chart that would become the industry standard, the very first song to top that chart was Nelson's "Poor Little Fool" (4 August 1958).
Nephew of Don Nelson.
Release of the book, "Teenage Idol, Travelin' Man: The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson" by Philip Bashe. [1992]
Release of the book, "Ricky Nelson: Idol For a Generation" by Joel Selvin. [1990]
He and Ozzie Nelson were nominated for the 2017 New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Performing Arts category.
The last song Nelson performed, on the evening preceding the fatal plane crash, was Buddy Holly's "Rave On"--the last song Holly had performed before his own fatal plane crash.
He was of Swedish (from his paternal grandfather), German, Irish, English, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and Scottish descent.
The Nelson family (Ozzie, Harriet & Ricky) were inducted into the 2019-2020 Class of New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Arts and Entertainment category.

Personal Quotes (1)

A career is a series of comebacks.

See also

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