Gene Nelson

Gene Nelson

Gene Nelson was born in Oregon in 1920.   He served in the Army during World War Two and then began appearing on Broadway.   On film he alternated between musicals where he was a talented dancer and gritty noir dramas.   His films include “The Daoughter of Rosie O’Grady” in 1950, “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine”, “Oaklaholmaa, and “Crime Wave”.   In 1971 he was in the cast on Broadway of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” with Alexis Smith and Yvonne de Carlo.   He also directed films and television shows in his later years.   Gene Nelson died in 1996 at the age of 76.

His IMDB entry:

Gene Nelson was barely a teen when he saw the Fred Astaire movie Flying Down to Rio(1933), which would change his life. It was then that he decided he would be a dancer. After graduating from high school, Nelson joined the Sonja Henie Ice Show and toured for 3 years before joining the Army in World War II. After he was discharged, he appeared in a handful of movies before 1950. He worked with Debbie Reynolds in The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady (1950), Doris Day in Tea for Two (1950) and Virginia Mayo in She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952). He would be best known for his role of cowboy Will Parker in Oklahoma! (1955), where he would twirl the lasso to the tune of “Kansas City”.

After his dancing days ended he turned to directing TV and films, including two Elvis Presley movies, Kissin’ Cousins (1964) and Harum Scarum (1965). For television he directed episodes of I Dream of Jeannie (1965), Star Trek (1966), The Rifleman (1958),The Donna Reed Show (1958) and many others.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <> (qv’s & corrections by A. Nonymous)


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