The longest-tenured CBS employee, business affairs exec Anne Roberts Nelson, died June 20 of natural causes in Los Angeles. She was 86.
One of the first female media execs, her 64 year career at the Eye spanned radio, TV and the advent of new media. Nelson started at CBS with a two week temp job in 1945, and rose to become senior VP of Business Affairs, TV Movies and Miniseries, staying on the job until early this year.
During her tenure, she negotiated contracts for shows including “I Love Lucy,” “All In The Family,” “Gunsmoke,” “Perry Mason,” “The Young & The Restless.” Among her business associates and friends were TV figures including Bob Conrad, Stan Freberg, Gail Patrick Jackson, Norman Lear, Art Linkletter, Donna Mills, Ozzie & Harriet Nelson, Red Skelton and Jane Withers.
Nelson, a native of South Pasadena, Calif., earned a B.A. in journalism from UC Berkeley in 1944. She was a founding member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and a longstanding board member of American Film Institute Associates. A longtime resident of Baldwin Park, she was active in the Crenshaw neighbors association, spearheading the founding of Jim Gilliam Park.
In 2006, she was honored by the UC San Diego Rady School of Management with the inaugural Pinnacle of Excellence Award for Business Leadership.
Her husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, Jr., a band leader and musician of the 1930s and 40s and later an advertising exec, died in 1975. She is survived by two daughters, a son, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepgrandson, and a sister.
A celebration of her life will be held July 14 at 5 p.m. at CBS TV City, Studio 36, 7800 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles.
Donations may be made to American Film Institute Associates, P.O. Box 2501, Beverly Hills, CA 90213.