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Kristin Harmon's Geni Profile

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Kristin Nelson (Harmon)

Also Known As: "Kristin Nelson", "Kristin Nelson Tinker"
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Tom Harmon and <private> Harmon (Kornbrath)
Ex-wife of Ricky Nelson and <private> Tinker
Mother of <private> Nelson; <private> Nelson; <private> Nelson and <private> Nelson
Sister of <private> Harmon and Mark Harmon

Occupation: Primitive painter, actor, and author
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • ex-husband
    • <private> Nelson
    • <private> Nelson
    • <private> Nelson
    • <private> Nelson
    • <private> Tinker
    • father
    • <private> Harmon (Kornbrath)
    • <private> Harmon
    • brother
    • <private> Crewe
      ex-husband's child
    • mother's ex-husband

About Kristin Harmon

Sharon Kristin Harmon is an American primitive painter, actor, and author. She is the daughter of Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon and actress Elyse Knox. She was married to actor/singer Ricky Nelson.

Following her marriage to Rick Nelson in 1963, Kristin joined the Nelson family television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as a regular cast member, first appearing in the episode, "Rick's Wedding Ring."

In 1965, she co-starred with Rick Nelson in the romantic comedy, Love and Kisses, in which they demonstrate the troubles of a young couple of school age who get married—an "inspired casting," according to one critic.

Subsequently, she played Officer Jim Reed's wife Jean on Adam-12, guest-starred on other series and appeared in a few theatrical films, including The Resurrection of Broncho Billy, which won an Academy Award for best live action short film.

She retired from acting in 1982 following Liar's Moon.

In 1988, she met director-producer Mark Tinker, who asked her what she wanted to do with her life. She told him, "I want to paint."

She made her living as an artist, receiving a career boost when Jacqueline Kennedy purchased one of her paintings. She became of a favorite of several Hollywood collectors including Mia Farrow, Tyne Daly, and Dwight Yoakam. Her work, which is "widely acclaimed," is in the primitive genre, and has been likened to that by Grandma Moses.

Her paintings are conceived without perspective and are brightly colored with many figures included. Judy Blundell said, "Any symbolism is straightforward and honest. As an artist she is not concerned with being clever or elusive; she is simply using her talent as a means of true visual documentation."

Subjects include When the Kennedys Were in the White House (1964) and The Day He Died (1990), a memorial to her father which is painted on a window frame and depicts a country church and clouds raining. In 1999, Nelson's paintings were published in a coffee-table-sized autobiography, Out of My Mind. The paintings document her life story and are supplemented with diary entries and poems.


At Christmas 1961, Harmon began dating Rick Nelson. During the winter holiday season of 1962-63, the couple announced their engagement, and were married on April 20, 1963, in St. Martin of Tours Church in Hollywood before 400 guests in a 30-minute Catholic ceremony. Kris was pregnant, and Rick later described the union as a "shotgun wedding."

In October 1977, Kristin filed for divorce and asked for alimony, custody of their four children, and a portion of community property. The couple temporarily resolved their differences but Kristin retained her attorney to pursue a permanent break. Both spent enormous sums of money—Kristin on parties, Rick on renting a private Lear jet.

In April 1980, they bought Errol Flynn's 1941 Mulholland Drive estate for $750,000.Kristin wanted Rick to give up music, spend more time at home, and focus on acting, but the family enjoyed a recklessly expensive lifestyle, and Kristin's extravagant spending forced Rick to tour relentlessly. The impasse over Rick's career created unpleasantness at home. Rick toured as often as possible. Kristin began drinking heavily and left the children in the care of household help.

In October 1980, Kristin moved into an upstairs room at Mulholland Drive house, and again filed for divorce. She was determined to take everything she possibly could and leaving Rick ruined. Attempts to negotiate a preliminary settlement agreement were unsuccessful. In January 1981, Kristin's attorney noted that Rick's assets were insufficient to warrant lengthy proceedings, and recommended a quick settlement. Kristin replaced her lawyer with a more aggressive attorney. In February 1981, Kristin was temporarily granted custody of the children and $3,600 in spousal support. Rick was required to pay a number of family expenses such as property taxes, doctor bills, and school tuitions. Kristin and her lawyers believed Rick had a hidden cache of wealth, but such a thing did not exist. Rick was almost broke. Accusations of drug and alcohol use and poor parenting were exchanged between the Nelsons, and, after two years of acrimony, they were divorced in December 1982. The divorce was financially devastating for Nelson with attorneys and accountants taking over $1 million.

Kristin and Rick Nelson had four children. Their first was the one daughter, blue-eyed, blonde-haired Tracy Kristine Nelson, born six months after the wedding on October 25, 1963, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. She weighed four pounds, one ounce and was slightly premature. As a preschooler, she appeared in Yours, Mine, and Ours with Lucille Ball. In her teens, she attended the exclusive Westlake School for Girls. During her parents' marital difficulties, she did not get along with her mother and stayed with her father in the Flynn house despite the temporary divorce agreement. In 1982, she told People her parents were too young when they started a family. She recalled dressing up like a mermaid for an entire week as a child in an attempt to attract their attention. Rick Nelson left his estate to his four children.

Twin sons Gunnar Eric Nelson and Matthew Gray Nelson were born on September 20, 1967. Gunnar and Matthew performed as the band Nelson.

Their fourth child, Sam Hilliard Nelson, was born August 29, 1974. At six years, he was placed in the care of his maternal grandparents, Tom and Elyse Harmon of Brentwood, because of Kristin's alcohol abuse, unpredictable behavior, and sporadic suicidal tendencies. Sam came to call his grandfather, "Pop."

In 1987, two years after Rick Nelson's death, Kristin was undergoing drug rehab when her brother Mark Harmon and his wife, Pam Dawber petitioned for custody of Sam based on the grounds that Kristin was incapable of good parenting. Sam's psychiatrist testified the thirteen-year-old boy depicted his mother as a dragon, and complained about her mood swings and how she prevented him from being with his siblings. Mark Harmon dropped his custody bid when Kristin's lawyer insinuated witnesses could be produced who had snorted cocaine with Harmon's wife, Pam Dawber. Kristin was given custody, with Mark Harmon being granted visitation rights. The two siblings and Sam entered family counseling.

She married Mark Tinker in 1988; they divorced in 2000.

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Kristin Harmon's Timeline

June 25, 1945