Gene Nelson


Choreographer, Dancer
Gene Nelson

About

Also Known As
Eugene Leander Berg, Sgt. Gene Berg, Gene Berg
Birth Place
Seattle, Washington, USA
Born
March 24, 1920
Died
September 16, 1996
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

Prolific actor/director Gene Nelson appeared in more than 60 productions and helmed another 50 in a career that spanned five decades, but his first ambition was to become a dancer after he saw Fred Astaire's musical comedy "Flying Down to Rio." Nelson spent three years of touring with the Sonja Henie Ice Show, did a stint in the Army during World War II, and then made his way to Broadway...

Family & Companions

Miriam Franklin
Wife
Divorced.
Marilyn Morgan Fields
Wife
Second wife; divorced.
Jean Martin
Wife
Third wife; divorced.

Notes

Nominated for Tony Award in 1972 for Best Supporting or Featured Actor in a Musical

Biography

Prolific actor/director Gene Nelson appeared in more than 60 productions and helmed another 50 in a career that spanned five decades, but his first ambition was to become a dancer after he saw Fred Astaire's musical comedy "Flying Down to Rio." Nelson spent three years of touring with the Sonja Henie Ice Show, did a stint in the Army during World War II, and then made his way to Broadway and into movies. He began with small parts, but his film acting career took off in the 1950s with a notable role in the Doris Day musical romantic-comedy "Tea for Two," which won him a Golden Globe award for Most Promising Newcomer. He went on to appear regularly in film and television throughout the decade, but by the early 1960s, he'd found a new interest--directing--and helmed several episodes of the action-packed Western "The Rifleman." Nelson would make the occasional guest appearance into the 1980s, and a brief foray into screenwriting earned him a Writers Guild Award nomination in 1965 for the Elvis Presley musical "Kissin' Cousins," but his main focus was directing. Although his directing career never earned him the kind of praise he'd seen as an actor or a screenwriter, Nelson worked steadily through the 1960s and '70s, helming a variety of programs, from the magic-infused sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie" to the chic spy drama "The Mod Squad." By the 1980s he had retired, and little was heard from him prior to his death from cancer in 1996.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Letters (1973)
Director
Wake Me When the War Is Over (1969)
Director
The Cool Ones (1967)
Director
Harum Scarum (1965)
Director
Your Cheatin' Heart (1964)
Director
Kissin' Cousins (1964)
Director
Hootenanny Hoot (1963)
Director
Hand of Death (1962)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

S.O.B. (1981)
Business Manager
A Brand New Life (1973)
Harry
Family Flight (1972)
Aircraft Carrier Captain
Thunder Island (1963)
Billy Poole
The Purple Hills (1961)
Gil Shepard
20,000 Eyes (1961)
Dan Warren
The Way Out (1956)
Greg Carradine
The Atomic Man (1956)
Mike Delaney
So This Is Paris (1955)
Al Howard
Oklahoma! (1955)
Will Parker
Crime Wave (1954)
Steve Lacey
Three Sailors and a Girl (1953)
Twitch
She's Back on Broadway (1953)
Gordon Evans
She's Working Her Way Through College (1952)
Don Weston
Lullaby of Broadway (1951)
Tom Farnham
Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951)
Ted Lansing
Starlift (1951)
Himself
Tea for Two (1950)
Tommy Trainor
The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady (1950)
Doug Martin
The West Point Story (1950)
Hal Courtland
Gentleman's Agreement (1948)
G.I.
Apartment for Peggy (1948)
Jerry
The Walls of Jericho (1948)
Assistant prosecutor
I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now? (1947)
Tommy Yale
This Is the Army (1943)
Soldier
Second Fiddle (1939)

Writer (Feature Film)

The Cool Ones (1967)
Adaptation
Kissin' Cousins (1964)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

Wake Me When the War Is Over (1969)
Producer

Music (Feature Film)

Son-rise: A Miracle Of Love (1979)
Song

Dance (Feature Film)

So This Is Paris (1955)
Choreography

Director (Special)

Where's Everett? (1966)
Director

Cast (Special)

The Golden Globe's 50th Anniversary Celebration (1994)
Married Alive (1970)
Burbage
Tom, Dick, and Harry (1960)
Tom Fellows
Broadway (1955)
Roy Lane

Life Events

1937

Joined the Sonja Henie Hollywood Ice Revue for three years

1948

Appeared in Gower Champion's "Lend an Ear," which earned him a three-year contract with Warner Bros.

1950

Co-starred in the musical "Tea for Two" with Gordon MacRae

1955

Acted in the film version of "Oklahoma!" in the role of Will Parker

1971

Performed in the Broadway production "Follies"

Photo Collections

Tea for Two - Movie Poster
Tea for Two - Movie Poster

Videos

Movie Clip

Tea For Two (1950) - I Know That You Know First scene for the star, Doris Day as heiress "Nanette," with pals Jimmy (Gordon MacRae) on piano and Tommy (Gene Nelson), dance instructor, song by Jimmy Van Heusen and Irving Caesar, from Tea For Two, 1950.
Cool Ones, The (1967) - Just One Of Those Things Backstage at a TV variety show, ambitious dancer-singer Hallie (Debbie Watson) interrupts the band led by Glen Campbell as “Patrick,” doing an electrified Cole Porter song, Phil Harris in charge of the show, George Furth his aide, Phil Arnold the snarky stage manager, in The Cool Ones, 1967.
Kissin' Cousins (1964) - There's Gold In The Mountains Happily received by the locals (Pamela Austin and Yvonne Craig as Selena and Azalea), Elvis Presley as Air Force man Josh, sent in to help arrange the purchase of property for an air base, finds a way to a song by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye in Kissin’ Cousins, 1964.
Kissin' Cousins (1964) - Tender Feeling Knocked out in earlier action, Elvis Presley as Jodie, the blonde country-cousin side of his dual characters, is found by Midge (Cynthia Pepper) and delivers a tune by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye, in the MGM/Sam Katzman musical vehicle, Kissin’ Cousins, 1964.
Kissin' Cousins (1964) - Watzamatta You? Establishing a premise, the Air Force wants to build a landing strip on a remote Tennessee mountain, and Jack Albertson as Captain Salbo is tasked with finding a native of the region within his unit to help negotiate, thus introducing the star, Elvis Presley, as Josh, part one of his dual role, in Kissin’ Cousins, 1964.
Cool Ones, The (1967) - Some Of These Diddy-Bops 35 minutes into the feature top-billed Roddy McDowall appears as rock promoter Tony Krum, Robert Coote his sycophant brother Stanley, pushing his would-be pop-star duo, ingenue Hallie (Debbie Watson) and washed-up Cliff (Gil Peterson), Nita Talbot and Jim Begg the hangers-on, shooting at the Palm Springs airport, in The Cool Ones, 1967.
She's Working Her Way Through College - Delayed By Wolves Angela (Virginia Mayo), burlesque star and new gal on campus, en route to class where charming Professor Palmer (Ronald Reagan), her former high-school teacher, is working his spell, in She's Working Her Way Through College, 1952.
She's Working Her Way Through College - I'll Be Loving You Professor (Ronald Reagan) Palmer presiding, erstwhile burlesque star Angela (Virginia Mayo) and jock Don (Gene Nelson) offer Vernon Duke and Sammy Cahn's I'll Be Loving You, staged by LeRoy Prinz, in She's Working Her Way Through College, 1952
Crime Wave (1954) - Nobody Leaves You Alone Sterling Hayden as LAPD Sgt. Sims, with de-facto nameless associates suggests they ring ex-con Lacey (Gene Nelson) for what is in fact his second appearance, still in bed with wife Ellen (Phyllis Kirk), when sure enough, San Quentin escapee Morgan (Ned Young), wounded in the gas station robbery, turns up, in Andre de Toth’s Crime Wave, 1954.
Tea For Two (1950) - Title Song Jimmy (Gordon MacRae) and Tommy (Gene Nelson) have just introduced heiress Nanette (Doris Day) to the big tune (by Vincent Youmans) from their new show, producer Larry (Billy DeWolfe) drooling, secretary Pauline (Eve Arden) skeptical, in Tea For Two, 1950.
Harum Scarum (1965) - Shake That Tambourine Elvis Presley here plays American entertainer Johnny, somewhere in the Middle East to premiere his new movie, helping some local dancing girls earn their living with a tune credited to Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye, pickpocket Billy Barty working the crowd, in Harum Scarum, 1965.
Harum Scarum (1965) - So Close Yet So Far (From Paradise) Elvis is American performer Johnny Tyronne kidnapped in the Middle East, also enraptured with a local princess, thus the song credited to Joy Byers (one of many later claimed by her husband, record producer Bob Johnston), encouraged by Fran Jeffries, in Harum Scarum, 1965.

Family

Victoria Gordon
Daughter
Survived him.
Christopher Nelson
Son
Survived him.
Douglas Nelson
Son
Survived him.

Companions

Miriam Franklin
Wife
Divorced.
Marilyn Morgan Fields
Wife
Second wife; divorced.
Jean Martin
Wife
Third wife; divorced.

Bibliography

Notes

Nominated for Tony Award in 1972 for Best Supporting or Featured Actor in a Musical