Ed Nelson, known for appearing in many Roger Corman films as well as starring on the television show Peyton Place, died on 9 august 2014 at the age of 85. The cause was congestive heart failure.
Ed Nelson was born in New Orleans on 21 December 1928. He attended Tulane University for two years before going to the New York School of Radio and Television Technique. He served in the United States Navy as a radioman aboard the light cruiser USS Dayton. For a time he was a director at WDSU-TV in New Orleans before moving to Los Angeles, California to take up acting full time.
Ed Nelson made his film debut in an uncredited bit part in The Steel Trap in 1952. He appeared in William Castle's New Orleans Uncensored (1955) before appearing in his first Roger Corman film, Swamp Women in 1956. Mr. Nelson would go onto appear in several more of Roger Corman's films, including Carnival Rock (1957), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), Rock All Night (1957), Teenage Cave Man (1958), Night of the Blood Beast (1958), She Gods of Shark Reef (1958), The Cry Baby Killer (1958), I Mobster (1958), and A Bucket of Blood (1959), as well as others. In the Fifties he also appeared in such films as Bayou (1957), Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957), Hell on Devil's Island (1957), The Brain Eaters (1958), Street of Darkness (1958), The Young Captives (1959), and Elmer Gantry (1960). He made his television debut in an episode of Men of Annapolis during the 1957-1958 season. He guest starred on such shows as Harbour Command, The Silent Service, Flight, Highway Patrol, Tightrope, Johnny Ringo, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, and The Rebel.
In 1964 Ed Nelson was cast as Michael Rossi on the TV show Peyton Place. He remained with the show for its entire run, appearing in 436 of its 514 episodes. Following the cancellation of Peyton Place in 1969 he played Ward Fuller on the short lived show The Silent Force. In the Sixties he guest starred on such shows as Have Gun--Will Travel, Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, Thriller, Maverick, Bonanza, Death Valley Days, Rawhide, The Virginian, The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Untouchables, The Outer Limits, Wagon Train, Combat, The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, and Perry Mason. He appeared in the films Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), Soldier in the Rain (1963), and The Man from Galveston (1963).
In the Seventies Mr. Nelson guest starred on such shows as Marcus Welby M.D., Night Gallery, The Sixth Sense, Alias Smith and Jones, Mission Impossible, The Streets of San Francisco, Kung Fu, The F.B.I., Adam-12, Medical Centre, McMillan and Wife, Dallas, The Rockford Files, and Barnaby Jones. Mr. Nelson appeared as Michael Rossi in the television movie Murder in Peyton Place. He appeared in the films Airport 1975 (1974), That's the Way of the World (1975), Midway (1976), For the Love of Benji (1977), and Acapulco Gold (1978).
In the Eighties Ed Nelson appeared on such shows as Trapper John M.D., Vega$, Quincy M.E., Bret Maverick, Capitol, Hotel, Cagney & Lacey, and MacGyver. He appeared as Michael Rossi in the TV movie Peyton Place: The Next Generation. He appeared in the films Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986), Deadly Weapon (1989), and Brenda Starr (1989). From the Nineties into the Naughts Ed Nelson appeared in the films Cries of Silence (1996), Who Am I? (1998), Tony Bravo in Scenes from a Forgotten Cinema (2000), and Runaway Jury (2000).
Ed Nelson was an extremely prolific actor who appeared in a large number of films and TV shows throughout his career. The reason that he was so much in demand may have been because there was always a sincerity about his performances. Whether it was in one of Roger Corman's B movies, one his many guest appearances on TV Westerns, episodes of Peyton Place, or big budget motion pictures, there was always an honesty about Mr. Nelson's performances that made him convincing in any role. It was a quality that allowed him to play everything from medical doctors to generals to villains. Even when the films or TV shows might not be particularly good, one could always be guaranteed Ed Nelson would give a good performance.