David Nelson (actor)

For other people named David Nelson, see David Nelson.
David Nelson

David Nelson, c. 1964
Born David Oswald Nelson
(1936-10-24)October 24, 1936
New York City, US
Died January 11, 2011(2011-01-11) (aged 74)
Century City, California, U.S.
Cause of death Colon cancer
Resting place Westwood Memorial Park
Nationality American
Education Hollywood High School
Alma mater University of Southern California
Occupation Actor, director, producer
Years active 1948–1990
Spouse(s) June Blair (1961–1975)
Yvonne O'Connor Huston (1975–2011)
Children 5
Parent(s) Ozzie Nelson (1906–1975)
Harriet Hilliard (1909–1994)
Relatives Ricky Nelson (1940–1985)
Tracy Nelson (niece)
Matthew Nelson (nephew)
Gunnar Nelson (nephew)
Sam Nelson (nephew)

David Oswald Nelson (October 24, 1936 – January 11, 2011) was an American actor, director, and producer.

Early life

David Oswald Nelson was born October 24, 1936 in New York City. Nelson was the elder son of entertainment couple Harriet Hilliard Nelson (born Peggy Lou Snyder; July 18, 1909 October 2, 1994) and Ozzie Nelson (March 20, 1906 June 3, 1975). He was the older brother of singer Eric Hilliard "Ricky" Nelson (May 8, 1940 December 31, 1985). In late 1941, Nelson moved with his parents from Tenafly, New Jersey to Los Angeles, California. Infant brother Ricky stayed behind with his paternal grandmother until 1942 when the family was settled.


The Nelson family, c. 1952

Nelson, along with his brother and their parents, appeared on the long-running sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in the 1950s and 1960s. During the run of the series, Nelson directed several episodes. After the series' end, he continued acting, directing and producing. His most memorable 'break-out' performance was in the 1959 thriller The Big Circus, wherein Nelson played a disturbed, apparently homicidal 'troubled youth', while his last film appearance was in the campier Cry-Baby (1990). For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Nelson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1501 Vine Street, on May 9, 1996.[1]

He attended Hollywood High School, balancing his studies, playing on the football team and his TV work. He later attended the University of Southern California and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity.[2]

Personal life

Nelson had two sons—Daniel Blair and James Eric—from his first marriage with June Blair, which ended in divorce, and adopted two sons and a daughter—John, Eric, and Teri—from his second marriage, to Yvonne Huston.[3]


Nelson died on January 11, 2011, in Century City, California, from complications of colon cancer.[4] He was survived by his wife Yvonne and five children.

Nelson was cremated and chose not to be interred in the Nelson family plot in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, California, instead choosing a niche in Westwood Memorial Park's outdoor Garden of Serenity columbarium.





  • Ozzie's Girls (1973)
  • Easy to Be Free (1973)
  • Last Plane Out (1983)


Year Award Category Work Result
1996 Hollywood Walk of Fame Television
(star at 1501 Vine Street)
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet Honored
2006 TV Land Awards Favorite Singing Siblings
(shared with Ricky Nelson)
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet Nominated


  1. "Welcome – Hollywood Chamber of Commerce". Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  2. "UCF IFC Rush, Kappa Sigma, Kappa Sig UCF, Fraternity Rush". Retrieved January 18, 2011.
  3. Weber, Bruce (January 12, 2011). "David Nelson - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
  4. Dennis, McLellan (January 12, 2001). "David Nelson dies at 74; last surviving member of the TV sitcom family". latimes.com. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
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