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Ricky Nelson (1940-1985)

Slightly less-straight-arrow Ricky Nelson, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.

Died December 31, 1985, in a plane crash with members of his band. He was 45.


  • Brother of David Nelson; son of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson; father of actress Tracy Nelson, and fleeting 1990s pop stars Gunnar and Matthew Nelson (of Nelson).
  • First teen idol of the TV era.
  • Made singing debut on April 10, 1957, episode of Ozzie & Harriet. His version of "I'm Walkin'" was later released as a single, hitting No. 4 on the Billboard charts.
  • Scored 33 Top 40 hits, including "Poor Little Fool," "Travelin' Man," and "Hello Mary Lou."
  • Won the 1959 Golden Globe, at age 19, as most promising male newcomer.
  • Dropped the "y" from "Ricky" in 1961, at age 21.
  • Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987).
  • Role of Ricky originally played by a child actor on the early radio version of Ozzie & Harriet. The real Ricky and his real brother joined the show in 1949, remaining with it until 1954.
  • With 435 episodes, the TV version of Ozzie & Harriet (1952-1966) is the longest-running sitcom of all time.


  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Ricky Nelson
  • TV Tome: The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet
  • American Heritage Center: Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet Virtual Exhibit
  • credits

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