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Subject: Actor- director Gene Nelson was born 100 years ago today (died 1996)


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Date Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 01:23:14pm
In reply to: Happy birthdays! 's message, "Other birthdays, Mar. 24-" on Tuesday, March 24, 12:08:00pm

Gene Nelson (March 24, 1920 September 16, 1996) was an American actor, dancer, screenwriter, and director.

Biography

Born Leander Eugene Berg in Astoria, Oregon, he moved to Seattle when he was one year old. He was inspired to become a dancer by watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films when he was a child. After serving in the Army during World War II during which he also performed in the musical This Is the Army, Nelson landed his first Broadway role in Lend an Ear, for which he received the Theatre World Award. He also appeared onstage in Follies, which garnered him a Tony Award nomination, and Good News. Nelson's longtime professional dance partner during the 1950s was actress JoAnn Dean Killingsworth.

Gene Nelson co-starred with Doris Day in "Lullaby of Broadway" in 1951. He played Will Parker in the film Oklahoma!

In 1959, he appeared in Northwest Passage as a young man trying to prove his innocence in a murder case. Nelson appeared on the March 17, 1960 episode of "You Bet Your Life", hosted by Groucho Marx. He and Groucho's daughter, Melinda, performed a dance number together.

Nelson directed 8 episodes of The Rifleman in the 1961-62 season, the original Star Trek, the first season of I Dream of Jeannie, Gunsmoke, The Silent Force, and The San Pedro Beach Bums.

He directed the Elvis Presley films Kissin' Cousins (1964), which screenplay he wrote, and Harum Scarum (1965). For the Kissin' Cousins screenplay he received a WGA award nomination for best written musical. He later taught in the Theater Arts Department at San Francisco State University in the late 1980s.

He starred as Buddy in the 1971 Broadway musical Follies, for which he received a 1972 Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor In A Musical. The production featured a score by Stephen Sondheim and was co-directed by Michael Bennett and Harold Prince.

For contribution to the motion picture industry, in 1990, Nelson was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Nelson's star is located at 7005 Hollywood Boulevard.
\Death

Nelson died of cancer, aged 76, in Los Angeles. He was survived by his three children, Douglas, Victoria and Chris.

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Tennis player Alex Olmedo is 84, fashion designer Bob Mackie is 81, ex- Wash. Gov. Christine Gregoire is 73, writer Tabitha King is 71 (NT).Tuesday, March 24, 01:27:12pm


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