×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Ozzie and Harriet’s’ David Nelson dies

He was the last surviving cast member of iconic show

David Nelson, who grew up in front of America in “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” died Jan. 11 in Century City, Calif., of complications from colon cancer. He was 74.

Nelson was the last surviving member of the Nelsons TV family: actor-bandleader Ozzie; his singing wife, Harriet Hilliard; and his teen-idol younger brother, Rick. The show, which originated on radio in 1952 as “Here Come the Nelsons,” ran for 320 episodes from 1952 to 1966 as “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” on ABC. On the radio show, the boys were portrayed by pros, but they persuaded their parents to allow them to play themselves for the smallscreen.

In the show’s later years, David Nelson also directed some episodes. His film career included roles on 1957’s “Peyton Place,” 1959’s “The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker,” “The Big Circus” (for which he won critical acclaim as a homicidal trapeze artist) and “Day of the Outlaw,” 1962’s “The Big Show,” l965’s “Love and Kisses,” 1978’s “Up in Smoke” and 1990’s “Cry-Baby.”

He also starred with Hilliard in 1976’s “Smash-Up on Interstate 5.”

Smallscreen roles included “The Love Boat,” “Hondo,” and telepics “A Family for Joe,” “Swing out Sweet Land” and “High School USA.”

Nelson also had a career as a director and a producer. Besides directing eps of “Ozzie and Harriet” he helmed episodes of “O.K. Crackerby,” “Adam-12” and “Ozzie’s Girls.” Feature credits included 1969’s “Childish Things,” 1982’s “Death Screams,” 1983’s “Last Plane Out” and 1984’s “A Rare Breed.”

He produced “Ozzie’s Girls,” “Last Plane Out” and “Easy to Be Free.”

In 2006, he was nommed for a TV Land Award for “Ozzie and Harriet” and received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Yvonne; four sons and a daughter; seven grandchildren; three nephews; Matthew, Gunnar and Sam; and a niece, Tracy.

More TV

  • EMPIRE: L-R: Toby Onwumere and Jussie

    Jussie Smollett's 'Empire' Character Ties the Knot as Actor's Future on Show Is Unclear

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the April 24th episode of “Empire.” Jussie Smollett’s character on “Empire” got married in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, but the actor’s ongoing assault controversy makes his future on the show uncertain. The episode, entitled “Never Doubt I Love,” was Smollett’s last confirmed appearance in [...]

  • Riverdale -- "Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of

    'Riverdale' Airs Luke Perry's Final Scene

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear The Reaper,” the April 24 episode of “Riverdale.” “Riverdale” has aired late actor Luke Perry’s final scene as Andrews patriarch Fred. In “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper,” the 19th episode of the third season of “Riverdale,” Archie (KJ Apa) was worried about [...]

  • "We Turn Up This Music Louder

    TV Review: 'The Red Line'

    For all that broadcast TV’s power has attenuated in recent years, what they choose to put on still means something — and, from a certain point of view, something more than the choices made by prestige outlets. After all, the reach of broadcasters is without parallel. They’re simply in that many more homes than prestige [...]

  • Grey's Anatomy Season 15

    Broadcast Bubble Shows 2019: What's Coming Back, What’s Not

    While many broadcast shows have already been picked up for next season, plenty of favorites are still waiting to learn their fates. Given that the broadcasters are currently evaluating this year’s crop of comedy and drama pilots, some current shows will unfortunately have to shuffle off to that great network in the sky, where they [...]

  • Elizabeth Olsen Wanda Vision

    Elizabeth Olsen Says Disney+ Series 'WandaVision' Is Set in 1950s

    “Avengers: Endgame” star Elizabeth Olsen tells Variety that “WandaVision,” the forthcoming Disney+ series about her superhero character, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, will be set in the 1950s. “There’s quite a few other comic books that we’re pulling from and it’s going to be Wanda and the Vision, and I think at the Disney+ launch chat, they [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS Chiefs: Former Exec's Claim Network 'Has a White Problem' Is 'Disheartening,' 'Painful'

    Susan Zirinsky, president of CBS News, and Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, sent emails to staff Tuesday expressing concern over claims made in an essay published in Variety in which CBS veteran Whitney Davis detailed racist discrimination and sexual harassment she witnessed and was subjected to at the network. In response, Zirinsky said Davis’ [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content