Star of popular television series “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” David Nelson, 74, has died, a family spokesman said. Nelson, who was battling complications of colon cancer, died Tuesday at his Los Angeles home, said family spokesman and longtime Hollywood publicist Dale Olson.
Nelson was the last remaining member of the Nelsons TV family, which included actor/bandleader Ozzie, his singer wife, Harriet Hilliard and his teen idol brother Rick. The show originated on radio in 1952 as “Here Come the Nelsons,” then ran for 320 episodes on TV from 1952 to 1966 as “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” with some of the story lines taken from the stars’ own lives. David Nelson also directed and produced numerous episodes of the show throughout its run.
Singer Gunnar Nelson, a son of Rick Nelson, issued a statement Wednesday, saying his uncle’s death was “a great loss to the Nelson family. We will all miss Uncle Dave’s laughter and evolved sense of humor,” Gunnar Nelson said.
Exterior scenes for “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” were shot outside the Nelson family home in the Hollywood foothills, and it remains a popular attraction for visitors on celebrity bus tours. The home’s interior was mirrored on a studio sound stage where the series was shot. Born in New York City, David attended Hollywood High School and the University of Southern California.
His film credits included “Peyton Place,” “The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker,” “The Big Circus,” “Day of the Outlaw,” “30,””The Big Show,” “Love and Kisses” and “Swing Out, Sweet Land.” In 1976, he costarred with his mother in “Smash-Up on Interstate 5.” His television credits included “Up In Smoke,” “The Love Boat,” “High School USA,” and “A Family For Joe.” Directing credits included “O.K. Crackerby,” “Childish Things,” “Easy To Be Free,” “Ozzie’s Girls,” “Death Screams,” “Last Plane Out,” “Goodnight Beantown” and “A Rare Breed.”
Nelson also was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is survived by his wife, Yvonne; four sons and a daughter; and seven grandchildren. A service will be held Thursday at Pierce Brothers Westwood Mortuary.