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Also Known As: Robert Haakon Nielson, Cpl. Barry Nelson Died: April 7, 2007
Born: April 16, 1920 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: San Francisco, California, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This handsome, light-haired actor of Scandinavian heritage entered films in 1941 as a supporting player and second string lead. Nelson evolved into a dashing TV lead in the 50s and 60s and found his greatest success on the Broadway stage in a series of hit comedies and musicals. He proved adequate and good-humored in his often limited film roles, usually cast as the requisite male lead who provided support to his established leading ladies including Ginger Rogers in "The First Traveling Saleslady" (1956), Ann Sothern in "Undercover Maisie" (1947), Margaret O'Brien in "Tenth Avenue Angel" (1948) and Debbie Reynolds in "Mary, Mary" (1963).TV afforded Nelson better star treatment in the 50s beginning with roles in several live dramatic anthologies of the period including "The Chevrolet Tele-Theater", "Pulitzer Prize Playhouse" and Starlight Theater. He is reputed to be the first actor to portray super secret agent James Bond--albeit as an American--in a TV adaptation of Ian Fleming's novel "Casino Royale" on the late 50s anthology series "Climax!". Nelson headlined his own series, playing US government agent Bart Adams, a suave master of disguises, on the Cold War-themed "The Hunter" (CBS, 1952;...

This handsome, light-haired actor of Scandinavian heritage entered films in 1941 as a supporting player and second string lead. Nelson evolved into a dashing TV lead in the 50s and 60s and found his greatest success on the Broadway stage in a series of hit comedies and musicals. He proved adequate and good-humored in his often limited film roles, usually cast as the requisite male lead who provided support to his established leading ladies including Ginger Rogers in "The First Traveling Saleslady" (1956), Ann Sothern in "Undercover Maisie" (1947), Margaret O'Brien in "Tenth Avenue Angel" (1948) and Debbie Reynolds in "Mary, Mary" (1963).

TV afforded Nelson better star treatment in the 50s beginning with roles in several live dramatic anthologies of the period including "The Chevrolet Tele-Theater", "Pulitzer Prize Playhouse" and Starlight Theater. He is reputed to be the first actor to portray super secret agent James Bond--albeit as an American--in a TV adaptation of Ian Fleming's novel "Casino Royale" on the late 50s anthology series "Climax!". Nelson headlined his own series, playing US government agent Bart Adams, a suave master of disguises, on the Cold War-themed "The Hunter" (CBS, 1952; syndication, 1952-54). He proved even more adept as a sitcom lead on "My Favorite Husband" (1953-55). Nelson continued popping up on the small screen in dramatic anthologies, specials, TV-movies and guest shots, though with decreasing frequency since the mid-70s. He has been in only a few features since 1970, receiving his last significant exposure in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" (1980) as the hotel executive who hires Jack Nicholson as a caretaker.

In contrast, Nelson had been a theater staple since the late 40s, with Broadway credits including "Light Up the Sky", "The Rat Race", "The Moon is Blue" and "Cactus Flower". He was nominated for a 1978 Tony for his lead role in "The Act", a Broadway musical directed by Martin Scorsese and co-starring Liza Minnelli. The mid-80s found Nelson in the national and Broadway companies of "42nd Street".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Shining, The (1980) Stewart Ullman
2.
 Death in Small Doses (1973) Hugo Fane
3.
 Climb An Angry Mountain (1972) Lieutenant Frank Bryant
4.
 Pete 'n' Tillie (1972) Burt [Wilson]
5.
 Airport (1970) Lieut. Anson Harris
6.
 Mary Mary (1963) Bob McKellaway
7.
 The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) Charlie Masters
8.
 The Man with My Face (1951) Chick Graham/Albert Rand
9.
 Command Decision (1949) Loud speaker voice
10.
 Tenth Avenue Angel (1948) Al Parker
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1941:
Entered features directly after college; soon appeared in three films
1941:
First significant supporting role "Shadow of the Thin Man"
1947:
First feature lead, "Undercover Maisie" with Ann Sothern
1949:
Broadway debut, "Light Up the Sky"
1950:
Acted on Broadway in "The Rat Race"
1951:
Appeared in the hit Broadway comedy "The Moon is Blue"
:
TV debut, a guest spot on the NBC live drama anthology series "The Chevrolet Tele-Theater"
:
Appeared on the ABC anthology series "Pulitzer Prize Playhouse"
:
TV series debut, starred as undercover G-man Bart Adams on "The Hunter", a Cold Way spy series on CBS and in syndication
:
Starred in the CBS sitcom "My Favorite Husband"
:
Played an American James Bond in a TV adaptation of Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" on the dramatic anthology series "Climax!"
1956:
Supported Ginger Rogers playing an eccentric inventor in the Western comedy, "The First Traveling Saleslady"
:
Starred on Broadway in Jean Kerr's sex comedy "Mary-Mary"
1963:
Reprised his Broadway role in the film of "Mary-Mary" opposite Debbie Reynolds"
:
Appeared on Broadway in the hit comedy "Cactus Flower" (date approximate)
1967:
TV-movie debut, "The Borgia Stick", a crime drama
1967:
Starred in the busted sitcom pilot "Heaven Help Us" on CBS's "Vacation Playhouse"
1971:
Co-starred wth Janet Leigh in the unsold CBS comedy pilot "My Wives Jane"
1977:
Directed by Martin Scorsese in "The Act", a Broadway musical starring Liza Minelli; garnered a Tony nod for "Outstanding Performance By An Actor In A Broadway Musical"
1980:
Acted opposite Jack Nicholson in a small role in "The Shining"
1981:
Last film appearance, "Island Claws/Night of the Claw"
:
Performed in the national company of "42nd Street"
:
Performed in the Broadway company of "42nd Street"
1987:
Acted in a L.A. revival of "Light Up the Sky"
1990:
Starred in the national company of the comedy "Lend Me a Tenor"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of California at Berkeley: Berkeley , California -

Family close complete family listing

father:
Trygve Neilsen. Scandinavian.
mother:
Betsy Neilsen. Scandinavian.

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