Gene Nelson Biography (1920-1996)
Born Eugene Leander Berg, March 24, 1920, in Seattle, WA; died of cancer, September 16, 1996, in Sherman Oaks, CA. Actor, dancer, singer, and director. Nelson became famous for his role as Will Parker in the 1955 film version of Oklahoma! and was mostly remembered for his acrobatic-style dancing. But he also had a second career as a television series director. It was Nelson's athletic prowess as a young man that paved his road to stardom. A gymnast and ice skater who idolized Fred Astaire in high school, Nelson joined the Sonja HenieHollywood Ice Revue and then entertained soldiers in Europe during World WarII on Irving Berlin's This Is the Army tour. A contract with Twentieth Century- Fox followed and Nelson appeared in the films Who's Kissing Her Now, Teafor Two, and Oklahoma! Nelson continued to seek various roles as an actor buteventually turned to directing. He directed the Elvis Presley films Harum Scarum and Kissin' Cousins and also several television episodes of I Dream of Jeannie, Mod Squad, The Donna Reed Show, and The Rifleman. Nelson continued toappear in dancing roles through his later years, and won an Antoinette PerryAward in 1971 for his dance solo in Follies.
- actor, dancer, singer, director
- Birth Details
- March 24, 1920
- Seattle, Washington, United States
- Death Details
- September 16, 1996
- Sherman Oaks, California, United States
- International Motion Picture Almanac, Quigley, 1994.
- Chicago Tribune, September 20, 1996, section 1, p. 10.
- New York Times, September 18, 1996, p. D21.
- Washington Post, September 20, 1996, p. B7.