Barry Nelson

Active - 1941 - 1982  |   Born - Apr 16, 1920   |   Died - Apr 7, 2007   |   Genres - Drama, Mystery, Crime, War, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Of Scandinavian stock, Barry Nelson was no sooner graduated from the University of California-Berkeley than he was signed to an MGM contract. Most of his MGM feature-film assignments were supporting roles, though he was given leads in the 1942 "B" A Yank in Burma and the 1947 "Crime Does Not Pay" short The Luckiest Guy in the World. While serving in the Army, Nelson made his Broadway debut in the morale-boosting Moss Hart play Winged Victory, repeating his role (and his billing of Corporal Barry Nelson) in the 1944 film version. Full stardom came Nelson's way in such Broadway productions of the 1950s and 1960s as The Rat Race, The Moon is Blue and Cactus Flower. He repeated his Broadway role in the 1963 film version of Mary Mary, and both directed and acted in Frank Gilroy's two-character play The Only Game in Town (1968). Nelson starred in a trio of 1950s TV series: the 1952 espionager The Hunter, the 1953 sitcom My Favorite Husband, and the unjustly neglected Canadian-filmed 1958 adventure series Hudson's Bay (1959). Oh, and did you know that Nelson was the first actor ever to play Ian Fleming's secret agent James Bond on television? Yep: Barry Nelson portrayed American spy Jimmy Bond on a 1954 TV adaptation of Fleming's Casino Royale. Nelson died of unspecified causes on April 7, 2007, while traveling through Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was 84.

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