'Peyton Place' star Ed Nelson dies at 85
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/17/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
"Peyton Place," the classic 1960s TV series, paved the way for other prime-time soaps such as "Dallas" and "Dynasty." Ed Nelson, who played the doctor on the classic TV series, has died at his North Carolina home. Nelson was 85.
While racking up countless movie and TV roles, it was Ed Nelson's turn on "Peyton Place" that gained him the most notice.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A television, stage and film actor, Nelson's daughter-in-law, Asta Hansen, confirmed his death but did not provide a specific cause.
Born in New Orleans on Dec. 21, 1928, Nelson grew up in several places in the South. While still in high school, he joined the Navy and after military service attended Tulane University in New Orleans. He moved to New York to study acting and soon relocated to California.
Nelson's early career in the 1950s included several of Roger Corman's low-budget B movies, such as "Swamp Women," "Attack of the Crab Monsters," "A Bucket of Blood" and "Teenage Caveman."
While racking up countless movie and TV roles, it was Nelson's turn on "Peyton Place" that gained him the most notice. Based on Grace Metalious' best-selling book, the TV drama revolved around the romantic relationships in a small New England town. Nelson played Dr. Michael Rossi during the series' entire 1964-1969 run on ABC.
Fifties' movie star Dorothy Malone at first received top billing; Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal were propelled to stardom by their appearances on the steamy serial. By the last season, Mr. Nelson's doctor character was mixed up in a murder trial.
Nelson rejoined several members of the 1960s-era cast for a 1985 reunion TV movie, "Peyton Place: The Next Generation."
Among his dozens of television appearances, Nelson frequently appeared as a guest star on such series as "Murder, She Wrote," "Rawhide," "Gunsmoke" and "Wagon Train." He also hosted "The Ed Nelson Show," a syndicated daytime talk show, in 1969 and was a regular on the short-lived 1970-71 crime drama "Silent Force." He also played Sen. Mark Denning in the CBS daytime soap "Capitol" in the 1980s.
Nelson also portrayed President Harry S. Truman in a national touring production of the one-man show "Give 'em Hell, Harry!"
Nelson largely retired from acting in the 1990s. Along with his wife, Patsy, whom he married in 1951, they returned to New Orleans, where they had met. He earned his bachelor's degree in media arts from Tulane in 2000 and taught acting and screenwriting at various colleges. He and his wife left New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which struck in 2005.
Nelson published his memoir, "Beyond Peyton Place," in 2008. He is survived by his wife, six children, 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
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