David Nelson, the last surviving family member from the 1950s sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, died this week after succumbing to complications of colon cancer. He was 74.
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet — a tale about an All-American nuclear family — began as a radio show called Here Come the Nelsons in 1944. It was turned into a TV show in 1952 and ran until 1966. It starred Nelson’s father, Ozzie Nelson; mother, Harriet Hilliard; and brother Rick Nelson.
“We will all miss Uncle Dave’s laughter and evolved sense of humor. ‘The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet’ was shot in the Nelson family home in the Hollywood foothills, which remains a popular attraction for visitors on Hollywood celebrity bus tours,” Nelson’s nephew, singer Gunnar Nelson, said in a statement Wednesday.
Besides starring on the show and eventually directing several episodes over its run, Nelson also appeared in movies such as Peyton Place and worked as a producer in the 1970s and 80s. His TV acting credits include The Love Boat, Up in Smoke, and High School USA. His film credits include Day of the Outlaw, The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, and Smash Up on Interstate 5. Nelson’s also known for his his tongue-in-cheek role in John Waters’ campy 1950s comedy Cry-Baby, in which he played Patty Hearst’s husband and Traci Lords’ dad.
David is survived by his second wife, Yvonne, four sons, a daughter, and seven grandchildren. His brother, Ricky, died in a 1985 plane crash.