‘Ozzie & Harriet’ Writer Don Nelson Dies at 86

Don Nelson Obit

Don Nelson, brother of the late Ozzie Nelson and the co-writer of 216 episodes of classic sitcom “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” (pictured above), which centered on the Nelson family, died of an aortic aneurysm on Tuesday in Studio City, Calif. Nelson, who had Parkinson’s disease, was 86.

Nelson also penned the 1952 feature “Here Come the Nelsons”; episodes of shows including “The Ghost & Mrs. Muir,” “Julia” and “Nanny and the Professor”; and Disney features including “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” and “Hot Lead and Cold Feet.”

The beloved but anything but adventurous “Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” ran from 1952-1966; according to the Los Angeles Times, it was Don Nelson who came up with Ricky Nelson’s trademark line “I don’t mess around, boy.”

His last writing credit was on the 1993 series “Droopy: Master Detective.”

Nelson was also a jazz musician, singing and playing sax; he released two albums in the 1950s and appeared at San Fernando Valley venues for years.

Ozzie and Harriet Nelson and their sons Rick and David all predeceased Don, David most recently in 2011. (Don Nelson was 21 years younger than his brother Ozzie.)

He is survived by his third wife, Marilyn; two daughters; and four stepchildren.

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  1. nancy fyson says:

    So sorry to hear of Don Nelson’s death. I was a childhood friend of his daughter Laurie. Would love it if she could contact me…..

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