skip navigation
Sean Nelson

Sean Nelson

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

The Freebie DVD A happily married couple with a stalled sex life look to spice things up by... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

My Effortless Brilliance... A successful and self-absorbed novelist makes a belated attempt to mend his... more info $24.98was $24.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Bronx-born Sean Nelson turned 13 shortly before beginning principal photography on his debut film, writer-director Boaz Yakin's "Fresh" (1994). Prior to that, he had made his TV debut in a 1992 episode of the NBC series "Here and Now" and appeared off-Broadway in a production of "Hey Little Walter" at Playwrights Horizons, but neither of these efforts presaged the impressive performance to come in "Fresh". Though he had little dialogue as the savvy Brooklyn street kid who works after school as a drug runner, Nelson appeared in practically every scene, garnering rave notices for his harrowing portrait of an incredibly resourceful, tragically deprived child who applies the rules of chess to real life. A blank slate most of the time, Fresh finally cracks after enacting retribution against the system destroying the lives of those he loves. This haunting last image of lost innocence, shattered by the carnage he has precipitated, is what stayed with audiences, serving notice that this was an actor to watch.Unfortunately, there are few roles with the depth of a Fresh, and Nelson found himself making the rounds of the cop shows, playing the bad kid who gets arrested or killed. Remembering an awards show at...

Bronx-born Sean Nelson turned 13 shortly before beginning principal photography on his debut film, writer-director Boaz Yakin's "Fresh" (1994). Prior to that, he had made his TV debut in a 1992 episode of the NBC series "Here and Now" and appeared off-Broadway in a production of "Hey Little Walter" at Playwrights Horizons, but neither of these efforts presaged the impressive performance to come in "Fresh". Though he had little dialogue as the savvy Brooklyn street kid who works after school as a drug runner, Nelson appeared in practically every scene, garnering rave notices for his harrowing portrait of an incredibly resourceful, tragically deprived child who applies the rules of chess to real life. A blank slate most of the time, Fresh finally cracks after enacting retribution against the system destroying the lives of those he loves. This haunting last image of lost innocence, shattered by the carnage he has precipitated, is what stayed with audiences, serving notice that this was an actor to watch.

Unfortunately, there are few roles with the depth of a Fresh, and Nelson found himself making the rounds of the cop shows, playing the bad kid who gets arrested or killed. Remembering an awards show at which someone told him he looked good as a villain provoked concerns about typecasting, but he finally landed the plum role of Donny in Michael Corrente's film adaptation of David Mamet's "American Buffalo" (1996), holding his own against screen heavyweights Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz. He also played a minister's son in the 1950s period piece "Stranger in the Kingdom" (1998), but it was "The Wood" (1999) that finally showcased the kind of talent he had revealed in "Fresh". In an ensemble cast that included the likes of Omar Epps and Richard T. Jones, it was Nelson that gave this coming-of-age saga its heart, playing Epps' character as an adolescent, recently transplanted to Inglewood, California from North Carolina. These flashback sequences make the story truly comes alive, with Nelson and Malinda Williams (as his love interest) giving the film's standout performances.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Beware the Night (2014)
2.
 Touchy Feely (2013)
3.
 Stake Land (2011)
4.
 Freebie, The (2010)
7.
 Premium (2006)
9.
 Year That Trembled, The (2003) Phil Robbins
10.
 Wood, The (1999) Young Mike
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
At the suggestion of Nelson's kindergarten teacher, parents allowed him to sing in church
:
Studied at Lola Louis Creative and Performing Arts Studio in the Bronx; Louis encouraged Nelson to study acting and helped him to land parts in local productions so he could hone his craft until she thought he was ready to audition for agents
1992:
TV acting debut in NBC sitcom "Here and Now", starring Malcolm-Jamal Warner
:
Made stage debut in "Hey Little Walter" at Playwrights Horizon
1994:
Film acting debut in Boaz Yakin's "Fresh" at age 13
1994:
Broadway acting debut in the Circle in the Square revival of "The Shadow Box"
1994:
On the cop-show circuit, acted in episodes of "New York Undercover" (Fox), "Law & Order" and "Homicide: Life in the Street" (both NBC)
:
Had recurring role as Jesse Bayliss, appearing in eight episodes of NBC's "Sisters"
1996:
Acted in the feature "American Buffalo" alongside Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz
1998:
Portrayed a preacher's son in "Stranger in the Kingdom"
1999:
Cast as the teenage incarnation of Omar Epps' Mike, the ostensible lead and narrator of "The Wood", directed by Rick Famuyiwa
2000:
Played a drug dealer from Baltimore in the HBO minseries "The Corner", directed by Charles S. Dutton and adapted from a book by David Simon
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Temple University: Philadelphia , Pennsylvania -
Lola Louis Creative and Performing Arts Studio: Bronx , New York -
Our Savior Lutheran Church School: Bronx , New York -
Professional Performing Arts School: New York , New York -

Notes

"He was so subtle, I didn't get it at first. He is an instinctive film actor--everything is internalized." --"Fresh" director Boaz Yakin quoted in Us, August 1994.

On working with Dustin Hoffman in the film version of "American Buffalo": "I don't think I was taller than him, but he still wanted a platform or a stool to stand on whenever we had a scene together." --Sean Nelson to Kenya Dilday in Detour Magazine, November 1996.

"I think his future is extremely bright. He's as talented, if not more, as all the hot young actors around at the moment. He has the potential to be Tom Cruise, someone who started out young and went all the way. He could be as big a star as anybody out there.

"In this business, there are a lot of temptations for a young man, and he'll have to deal with those. But he's very levelheaded, and he has a very supportive family--his mother was on the L.A. set (of 'The Wood') every day." --Rick Famuyiwa quoted in New York Post, August 7, 1999.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Aubrey Nelson. Electro-mechanical engineer. Has shop in Queens, New York.
mother:
Sonia Nelson.
sister:
Sharif Nelson. Older; served as one of Sean's guardians on set of "American Buffalo".
brother:
Teron Nelson. Born c. 1992.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute