Monday, January 17, 2011

Whatever happend to Kristin Harmon Nelson?

Born June 25, 1945, Kristin Harmon Nelson is 65 years old now.  When she married actor and singing star Ricky Nelson on April 20, 1963, she was 17 and pregnant with their first child, actress Tracy Nelson (born October 25, 1963).  The couple went on to have three other children – twins Matthew and Gunnar who formed a band called Nelson (born September 20, 1967) and actor/musician Sam Hilliard Nelson (born August 29, 1974.)
After her marriage to Rick Nelson, Kris was immediately thrust into the television spotlight and became both Ozzie and Harriet’s real-life and TV daughter-in-law.  In 2008, when asked if Ozzie and Harriet had embraced her, she replied, “Completely.  When we told them about our engagement, Ozzie’s first comment was, ‘Great, great, can you act?’  I said I didn’t know but it really didn’t matter because anybody who was on the show sounded like Ozzie.  He wrote, directed and controlled everything about it.  He listened to the show with a radio ear, which meant he turned his back on the actors when they spoke so he could hear what he wanted to hear.  He wouldn’t even look at the action.”
Kristin and Rick Nelson were divorced in December of 1982.  After the death of Rick Nelson in a 1985 plane crash, Kris had some very troubled times.  In 1987, she underwent rehabilitation for drug abuse.  Her brother, actor Mark Harmon, and his wife, Pam Dawber (of Mork and Mindy fame), petitioned for custody of 12-year-old Sam on the grounds that Kristin was an unfit mother.  Kristen was eventually given custody of her son, with Mark Harmon granted visitation rights.
Kristin Harmon married television producer and director Mark Tinker in 1988.  Mark is the son of Grant Tinker who was head honcho of NBC and founder of MTM productions.  He is also the former stepson of Mary Tyler Moore who was married to the elder Tinker from 1962 until 1981.  Kristen’s marriage to Mark Tinker ended in divorce in the year 2000.  After the divorce, Kris moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she lives a peaceful life as an artist.  Her art is described as having the primitive feel-good warmth of Grandma Moses.
When Kristin was 17, inspired by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, she expressed her emotions in a painting entitled “When the Kennedys were in the White House”.  A photograph of Kris standing in front of her work appeared in a 1966 issue of Life magazine.  Rick Nelson took the painting to a gallery in Los Angeles where it became the impetus for Kris’s first show.  In an October 21, 2008 interview in santafe.com, Kris is quoted as saying that Jacqueline Kennedy “somehow saw the brochure for the show and Robert Kennedy called me saying she wanted to buy it.  I told him it was always done for her and that it would be a gift.”  The painting eventually ended up in the possession of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
Kristin Harmon seems content in Santa Fe.  She first came to New Mexico with Rick in 1970 when he had a gig in Taos.  On another trip, she made a point of visiting Santa Fe and was so taken by the place that she didn’t want to go home.  She is firmly settled there now and her paintings are sold at the Coady Contemporary gallery.  Kris says the one thing she always wanted to be was an artist.
By the way, Kristin Harmon has written a book about her life.  Her autobiography, entitled Out of My Mind, was published in 1997.  It is a coffee table book and includes a collection of her artwork.  Whenever Kris did something zany as a child, her father, football star Tom Harmon, would tell her she was out of her mind.  Her senior year book had a line under her picture that read, “Kris is out of her mind” and it listed all the creative and artistic things she had done.

A BOOK RECOMMENDATION FROM TV BANTER 
Readers, I would like to recommend a book to you.  I am reading Growing Up Laughing by Marlo Thomas, Hyperion, 2010.  If you like television comedy, this book is a must.  I am enjoying it immensely.  

-  Joanne

53 comments:

  1. I special ordered Kris Nelson's book years ago and enjoyed it very much. I am glad to hear she is still an artist and happy in her new life. According to her book she spent a lot of years very unhappy. I wish her the best.

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    1. I loved and srill do the Nelson Family. I grew up watching the show and own everyone of their TV shows and srill watch it and I'm 65 now. I thought Kris and Rick were so perfect for each other. When I read on the Internet what she did to Ricky due to drugs etc. she made me sick. She treated Ricky terrible and she was the reason he was in the plane that killed him. You might say she was responsible for his death and then she has the nerve to come to the cemetary on the day he was buried and wrestle her daughter Tracy to the ground becasue she learned Ricky had cut her out of his will. Whoever heard of an x-wife being entitled to anything. Even David called her a murderer. No thank you I have no interest in this woman's life. I was only reading this to see if she was dead or alive.

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    2. Anonymous: If you are going to slander an individual's good name with false accusations and untruths, the least you can do is "man up" and give your name so that Ms. Nelson can sue you in a court of law for defamation of character, slander, and libel, as well as damages for emotional distress and attorney fees.
      You either suffer from "SMS" (Short Man Syndrome) or just plain inaccurate in your information. Being entitled to an opinion is one thing, slandering a person is a whole other issue.

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    3. WANTING TO BE ANONYMOUS IS HIS CHOICE. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH "MAN UP" AS YOU SO PATHETICALLY STATED. WHAT GOOD NAME IS THAT? SHE WAS A DRUG ADDICT AND HAD AFFAIRS WITH RONALD REAGAN JR ECT... ANONYMOUS WASN'T INACCURATE, SHE WAS IN AND OUT OF TREATMENT CENTERS AND HER OWN BROTHER WAS SO CONCERNED FOR THE WELFARE OF THE FOUR CHILDREN WHICH YOU COULD CARE LESS ABOUT, SINCE YOU SPENT YOUR TIME COMING UP WITH UNCLEVER "SMS" REMARKS. THE WHOE BUNCH OF THEM SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE RAISED THE CHILDREN.

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    4. Well,We can all argue the point-counter point.Facts remain That David,Ricky,Ozzie and Harriet are all gone now.Gunner and His brother,are a success.And Tom Harmon is doing good as a actor in his own right.I would think we would reflect on what it was that Ricky saw in Kristen.I still own "Travelin' Man" "Hello Mary Lou" on vinyl and I revere Ricky completely.You really Can't help but respect the nelsons for doing what they did for so long.

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    5. We can all sit forever and argue about whether or not Kristen is alive.Kristen May be a great Artist in her own right.However,David and Ricky,Ozzie and Harriet,are all gone.Gunner and his brother are a success,Gunner's sister is a successful actress,And i still have my single 45 record of "Hello Mary Lou" and "Travelin' Man".. I agree that Kristen was doing drugs (so was ricky at times) but now we have to remember what they stood for,and not be fussin about what went wrong.

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    6. Every one one earth has made bad choices along the way. The God Lord promises forgiveness just for the asking. I am sure Kris' life is tranquel by just hearing her life style I:E painter, Before I close,Who said "who are we to judge?"

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    7. Why was Ricky being on the plane Kris' fault, and wasn't the plane crash caused by something drug-related? (i.e. Ricky wasn't an angel when it came to drugs?) Just asking, no judging, it is all very sad.

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    8. The FAA came to the conclusion in 1987 after a year and a half investigation that drugs did not contribute to the fire in Rick's DC-3 plane. Before he died, David Nelson did a TV special which focused on the crash because he wanted to set the record straight. In fact, it was found that Rick died trying to use his body to shield his fiancee/girlfriend from the fire.

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    9. Correct, no drugs involved as was originally claimed. I have studied this closely talking with the co-pilot of the DC-3. 30 years and the anniversary approaching.

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    10. I just want to say that I am good friends with the Nelson Children and Rick was an awesome guy, im not a fan of Kris, she has always been nice to me but Rick was awesome and he was a great dad to his kids and was not allowed to see Sam and he had to sneak out to see his dad. I will not say any more but just wanted to state my opinion and I do agree had she been a better wife and mom Ricky would have came back home and taken the bus to Texas

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  2. Let there be enough love and light for us all ...

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    1. I TOO AM 65, ANONYMOUS. IN THE BAY AREA, THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE & HARRIET ARE RUNNING DAILY ON A LOCAL STATION. I HAVENT SEEN THE SHOW IN DECADES AND I'M LOVING IT ALL OVER AGAIN. THEY MUST BE GETTING NEAR THE END OF THE SERIES BECAUSE THE BOYS ARE MARRIED MEN NOW. I'VE READ THAT THE SHOW HAD AROUND 455 OR SO, EPISODES. THEY WERE ON THE AIR FOR 20 YEARS, IF YOU INCLUDE RADIO. HOPEFULLY, WHEN THE LAST EPISODE AIRS, THEY'LL START FROM THE BEGINING AGAIN BECAUSE I CAME IN AROUND 1959. I WOULD LOVE TO VIEW IT FROM START TO FINISH. IT WAS A WONDERFUL SHOW. IT SHOWED HOW A FAMILY COULD REASON AND SOLVE PROBLEMS TOGETHER AND HAVE A LOT OF FUN AND ENJOY LIFE. IT DOESNT MATTER IF THE PROBLEMS ARE DIFFERNT TODAY OR MORE COMPLEX, IT'S STILL THE SAME PRINCIPLE, LEARNING TO GET ALONG WITH YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS AND OTHERS.AND IT DIDNT HURT TO HAVE A LEGENDARY SINGER IN THE MAKING.

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    2. Just go on Youtube.com and enter Ozzie & Harriet. You can get
      any episode you want for FREE! I have been watching a lot of
      old TV series lately. Nothing currently worth watching.

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  3. The show was a sham just like Leave it to Beaver....it made things look so rosey and really it wasnt. I don't care what people did in their past it only counts how you live now. I love Kris and Rick's daughter Tracy...such a sweet soul. Hope she doesn't read the nasty comments people put on her about her mother AND her father. Believe me she knows, she lived it. Get a life and Get over it already!!!

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    1. You say that you hope Tracy doesn't read the nasty comments about her parents right after you make your own nasty comment about her father's show. Talk about a hypocrite!

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  4. Bindi WuertenbergJuly 13, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Why do people THINK they have a right to judge anyone else anyway? EVERYONE has their own family secrets and scars to contend with. NO ONE is perfect, and everyone deals with their lives in different ways. I'm sure anonymous has as much imperfection as any other human being. So why point fingers at Kris. She is a human being too. And lord knows that when any human is hurting, they don't make wise choices!

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    1. Yes you are.....perfectly annoying!

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  6. Im 5 ft 4in why drag me into this. You people make my life hard enough. Get a grip.

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  7. MARK LEASE --- I GREW UP WATCHING THE ADVENTURES AND TO THIS DAY I WILL ALWAYS CHERISH THE MOMENTS OF YESTERDAY AND THE HOLSUM LIFE THEY PERTAYED ......RICK WAS AGREAT SINGER-REMEMBER "POR LITTLE FOOL"

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    1. You need to pass grammar and spelling lessons before you write another sentence

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  8. I adored the whole Nelson family and their show. It is sad they are all gone. I am glad Kristin is happy now. It is tough to be married to a famous man that was gone a lot. Let's cut her some slack!

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  9. Kris and Rick had a few wonderful short years together,almost living in a dream world, until the rot set in? Kris should write a book on thier time together, only she can put the record straight! Iain Young. England

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    1. She did write a book about their life together!! It's called Out of My Mind. Great book!! Lots of great pictures!!

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  10. Awww! For Shame.

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  11. It was a great show and Rick was great. Yes, it is fairy tale, but at 64 I can still enjoy it. Geez, who knows what happens in relationships, we only guess. Sorry it ended badly. Like Mark Harmon also!

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  12. i, too, always watched ozzie & harriet on tv; now, thankfully, the show is on tv again, & i still enjoy it ! - as far as their sordid, very public lives? - hey, we all face the difficult challenges of everyday life - it's a tough gig for us all; especially in the lime light, i'm sure! - who's to judge ? - not me, that's for sure!

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    1. I grew up in the 1950's...it was great and Ricky Nelson made it beautiful. Very talented gentleman.. Probably teaching angels how to sing.

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  13. I think the show was a "fairy tale" only in applying to their life. Growing up, almost all the kids had "Leave It To Beaver" families. I knew my family was the weird one, and who the other weird ones were. An old classmate contacted me recently and he never knew I had crush on him back then. I told him he was luckly because my family was all messed up, and it affected us all. He came from the normal Leave It To Beaver family. So did my friends and most kids There weren't many messed up families. The parents were still married even after I was grown. I think people like to say it wasn't that good back then because they grew up in a place that wasn't that good, or they just want to make it sound like the bad people today aren't really that bad. I was born in '51, in OH. people then had more morals, decency, class, sense of responsibility, work ethics, love (not lust), caring, empathy/sympathy, compassion...........

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  14. Tracy Nelson didn't want her mother , at Rick's funeral for a reason , only she knows. Maybe it was because Kris wanted alimony to take care of Sam Nelson. Rick had to do concerts to come up with the money, who knows. My heart goes out to the kids, more than the fighting parents. It's very hard for kids to see discord in the family, it effects their whole life. It would be good to know the truth, but some of these posts, seem to jump the gun. Facts are facts, I don't see any facts , all I see is speculation about a very sad death. What really seems to support some posts, is the fact that Mark Harmon wanted custody of Sam Nelson, that tells me a lot about his distrust of Kris and her ability to take care of Sam. But then again, the facts remain vague at best.

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    1. Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber didn't get custody of Kristin's son because Pam Dawber had to admit in court that she and Mark had used cocaine and other drugs themselves. They could hardly point the finger at Kris when they were doing to same things.

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    2. The accusation was, and it was only an accusation and circumstantial at best, was that Pam participated with Robin Williams back in the Mork and Mindy days (years previously when Pam was in her 20's). There was not even an accusation of anything current to the time of the case and not any accusation of Mark Harmon being ever involved. And it should be said he initiated the case as the request of Sam, himself, and the Harmon family, who Sam had lived with anyway while Kris was messed up.

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  15. My bro visited the Nelsons in the 60's as a teen, beause my uncle worked for Universal studios and knew ''everyone'. He said they really were as nice as you see them on tv. Everyone has problems, if you're young, wealthy, famous and very handsome you're going to make sure life is a ball.

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  16. So many people after all the drama, so many opinions. We all have drama in our lives, and have either recovered from it, or not. Either learned from it all, or not. I'm very happy for Kristin in her life now, hopeful she is at peace. Every family has a fracture at times, theirs was sadly very public. Indeed, who ARE we to judge?

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  17. The Ozzie and Harriet Show was an idealized version of the American family which few, if any, people actually have. I enjoyed it way back then and I still enjoy watching re-runs. I like it because it does portray the what's good. I watch TV for entertainment purposes only. Shows like Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best and Leave It To Beaver all put a smile on my face and allow me to enjoy the humorous side of life. Nothing wrong with that. I live "real life" every day and I don't need or want more from watching it on TV.

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    1. I certainly can agree with you on all points.

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    2. They at least , set a standard of how a family should be. Now the standard is some broken home on TV

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    3. "I live "real life" every day and I don't need or want more from watching it on TV." Amen!

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  18. Ditto re everything mentioned. That tragic crash on New Years eve....30 years ago this dec. & the words in his album ' Rudy the Fifth' seem to be a living epitaph. Since the 3 years after his divorce was finalized,words in songs he chose seem to to foretell his fedlings.
    I was fortunate to have met and interview him. He was sensitive, perceptive,funny and a true
    Gentleman
    Later,in my 1st year of college, a friend's family on the Harmon side attended his wedding.

    Rick was MULTITALENTED. THAT PART OF HIM LEFT US WITH BOTH HIS MUSIC & THE DELIGHTFUL OZZIE & HARRIET, DAVID EPISODES.
    HIS CHILDREN WILL CARRY ON HIS TRADEMARK TALENT .
    IF YOU EVER HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO WATCH DAVID NELSON'S PROGRAM CALLED
    ' A BROTHER REMEMBERED'. ●●●WATCH IT,IT'S EXTREMELY WATC7ELL DONE.
    IT MAY BE FOUND ON DISNEY, OR OTHER CHANNELS.

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  19. I loved Ricky. He was on my wall and on my HI-Fi. Just got "Out of My Mind". Am loving Kris's paintings and getting to know her. Neither of their's was easy. I identify with how it was to grow up then and the illusion the family was to project. Just wish they could have been happy with each other. There are always 2 sides to relationships.

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  20. just like everyone I also cut my eye teeth watching the 50's shows mentioned here. Only, I am Mexican American and I became inculcated with the idea that only white people mattered because those were the only people featured on the shows.
    Now I'm old and I understand and forgive

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  21. Okay, I need to know why does people keeping acting or talking that shows like The Adventures Of And Harriet, Leave It To Beaver, And Father Knows Best were supposed to depict real life. These were all scripted shows. No one, especially mature adults would keep going on and on about these shows not being real. Of course they weren't. But they gave us something wonderful to watch. No one wants realism on TV. I don't. Realism is struggling to pay your bills, having some sort of debilitating physical condition, not being able to find decent work, having to put up with awful, inconsiderate people everyday, etc,etc,etc. Come on all of you Realism Idiots, get a grip.

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  22. WHY DO PEOPLE, NOT WHY DOES PEOPLE.

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  23. My birthday is also 10/26/1963. Witcha Falls TX

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  24. I was born in 1940...same as Ricky...I had a mad crush on him because he was my age and Swedish...I wanted to marry him...loved loved loved his music ...especially Garden Party...instead I married my college sweetheart...still married 54 years...happy ...recovering alcoholic...people can grow up and change...blessings to you Kristen...God Bless

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  25. This family filled a void in my life as only child to a single parent,,
    my early years living in Manhattan beach watching them as a kid
    I grew to feel real affection and believe they were truly good people
    if there is a heaven I hope they are united again, they all suffered as we all do, or as Morrison put it "No one gets out of here alive"
    Ricky will live on in our hearts.

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  26. What a perfectly lovely comment. I knew them all and they were good people. I hope they are united again; also!

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  27. Tracy Nelson stated,that Rick Nelson's manager bought singer Jerry Lee Lewis's old DC3 plane that was known to have fule issues with the propane heater on board,it caused many problems and delays,the manager never paid the maintenance bill on time ever,on the New Year's flight the propane was leaking onto the carpet in the rea... f the plane from a leaking cap had not been put on correctly and was broke.Rick had bought tickets for him and the band to Dallas, but the manager insisted on fixing it when they got there to save money. In mid-flight the pilot tried to turn on the heater but didn't work,yelled at the copilot to turn it on but refused. He went up and did it himself,spark caught fule to the carpet,it started smoking,they tried to land it on the highway,two cars didn't pullover just stopped,so took the plane around but the fuselage had caught fire,the plane landed but was on fire,the pilot and copilot got out who got out from the plane's copilot's window,as they were crawling through the grass told the copilot not to mention the heater but didn't agree to. Everyone was found by the cockpit's door piled ontop of one another,her father was found with his arms out trying to protect his girlfriend. Tracy Nelson stated this on Jerry Skinner's channel several times,on You Tube,i was just watching before looking up Tracy and saw all these comments. She added the Washington Post fabricated the story about her father adding how the manager collected $500,000,00.of life insurance on him while Rick was $2 million in debt. The Washington Post retracted the story a year later that the FAA and NTSB reports during the press conference,she said no one read,confirming it was a heater,and preferred to be called Rick.

    I personally know how it feels to have your name slandered since people you were either once friends with trying to have the realationship they once had from you since vulnerable in their life, some I know from talking to their circle of friends how they are
    "imbalanced,"some tell me they would ask people we went to school with saying I am interested in them when really they are since married and using their friends as covers for that,that are insecure and even was told tested positive for methamphetamine when not showing up for the job which they have done to me. It's sad to have their friends tell me of them suffering from mental illness,their oldest child not wanting anything to do with them, their significant other leaving them since tiring of the drama,some I find out were prostituting themselves ( which I always suspected ),and realize these people want to be content like you are but after a decade still they can not find any happiness and look at people around them as competition rather than a friend,some people I also realize are not happy with things in their life feel content with the drama they create since narcissist,sociopaths that need to thrive in drama. Some people grow up and some others don't. So make sure you're spreading facts and not making up stories. Sad life that people lead. Make sure your closet doesn't have skeletons,because yours will comeback to haunt you one day I guarantee.

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    1. Read Tracy's comments about the accident and the insurance.
      It was a Key Man policy - meaning it was a business policy and owned by Greg Macdonald. It is good business practise to insure the lives of those that you depend on. At no point was it a policy for Rick and his kids to have.
      As much as I adore Rick, he sounds like he was woefully undér insured.

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  28. Rick shouldn't have bought that plane, without making sure it was mechanically sound. The fact that it had been prevously owned by Jerry Lee Lewis, gives me pause. The break up of the marriage was sad. I thought they had it all. My daughter was born 10-30-63, and I remember the announcement of Tracy 's birth on Oct. 26,1963. I will always be a fan of Rick Nelson and his music, and the whole Nelson family; thy are unbelievably talented. Kris is an artist and author. I love her paintings and have put in a request for, "Out of My Mind, an Autobiography", from the library. I hold them in high esteem. God Bless them Always. P.S. My Grandmothers house was haunted, so I have an idea what they went thru in Erroll Flynn's house!

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  29. Anonymous, you say the show was a sham? It was a show. Nothing more, nothing less. They provided a great show to make people feel good and to tell you the truth, People learned to be better parents after watching their show. Look, No one on earth has the perfect family but it was so nice to watch an episode of theirs and learn a few things. I still watch re-runs. One of the best shows and its still fun to watch. No matter what their real life was like I am happy they produced a show that made many people very happy to watch and look forward to watch.

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