Sunday, June 5, 2016

Gene Nelson (Not Just Another Hoofer)

 Gene Nelson was born Leander Eugene Berg,
in Oregon, 1920...
but graduated high school in Santa Monica.
He studied dance, acrobatics and ice skating,
studying at the Sonja Henie Hollywood Ice Revue,
and landing an early job (he was 17!) with 
"It Happened On Ice" at the Broadway Center Theatre.
He was noticed "on ice" by a talent scout from
20th Century Fox, and his movie career began.

 Above and below with Doris Day in
Lullaby of Broadway, 1951.
Below is that "Somebody Loves Me" number.

 He partnered in a number of flicks with
Virginia Mayo...
above in "She's Back On Broadway."

 Possibly the role that most movie-goers of the day associate him with:
Will Parker in Oklahoma!
playing opposite Gloria Grahame as Ado Annie.
Above, "All Er Nuthin'"
and below in "Kansas City."

 Above in Crime Wave with Sterling Hayden.
Gene did several dramas,
including The Atomic Man, 20,000 Eyes, and The Way Out.
Later in life, he turned to television directing 
(including episodes of the original Star Trek and Gunsmoke),
as well as directing 2 Elvis Presley movies.

 One of a series of photos
of Gene acting out a story for his son:
"Jack And The Beanstock".
Below, dining with Jane Powell...
In 1971 (when he was 51), 
Gene starred in Stephen Sondheim's Follies,
along with Alexis Smith and Yvonne DeCarlo,
receiving a Tony Nomination for Featured Actor.
He passed away in 1996, at the age of 76.

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