Ralph Leo Nelson

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Ralph Leo Nelson

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Ex-husband of Celeste Holm
Father of <private> Nelson

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • ex-wife
    • <private> Nelson
    • <private> Dunning
      ex-wife's child

About Ralph Leo Nelson


Ralph Nelson (August 12, 1916 – December 21, 1987) was an American movie and television director, producer, writer, and actor.

Life and career

Nelson was born in Long Island City, NY. He served in the Army Air Corps as a flight instructor in World War II. Nelson directed the acclaimed episode A World Of His Own of The Twilight Zone and served as production manager for the bulk of the show's run. He also directed both the television and film versions of Rod Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight.

He directed the 1968 movie Charly, for which Cliff Robertson won an Academy Award, as well as several racially provocative films in the 1960s and early 1970s, including the Academy Award-winning Lilies of the Field, ...tick...tick...tick..., The Wilby Conspiracy, and Soldier Blue. For 'Lillies', actor Sidney Poitier won an Academy Award.

Additionally, he directed the Cary Grant comedy Father Goose, the offbeat Soldier in the Rain with Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen, Once a Thief, and Rita Hayworth's last film, The Wrath of God. Nelson also both directed and briefly appeared in Duel at Diablo, starring James Garner and Sidney Poitier. Nelson's other credits include several episodes of TV's Starsky & Hutch, the '70s camp horror classic Embryo, and A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich. A television drama about mounting the live show of Requiem for a Heavyweight called The Man in the Funny Suit was made in 1960, with Nelson both writing and directing and Nelson, Serling, Red Skelton, Keenan Wynn and Ed Wynn appearing as themselves. He returned to TV in the late 1970s with a string of TV movies, including a sequel to Lillies of the Field starring Billy Dee Williams.


He died in Santa Monica, California, aged 71. He was the father of Project Xanadu (precursor and main inspiration of the World Wide Web's HTML format and HTTP protocol) inventor Ted Nelson (by his first wife, actress Celeste Holm), and, by his other marriage(s): Ralph, Peter, and Meredith Nelson.

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Ralph Leo Nelson's Timeline

Age 71