On television, the Nelsons were billed as "America's favourite family." In The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, they were the idealized TV family of the 1950s and '60s. In real life, everything was not so rosy for the offspring of Ozzie and Harriet. In fact, grandson Matthew Nelson was quoted in an August 5, 1991 People magazine article ("Nelson, the Next Generation") as saying, "We come from the grand-daddy of dysfunctional families."
Ricky Nelson, the youngest of Ozzie and Harriet's two sons, married Kristen Harmon on April 20,1963 in what Life magazine called "The Wedding of the Year." The nuptials took place at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Los Angeles, California. Rick and Kris had four children: Tracy Kristine Nelson (born October 25, 1963), identical twin sons, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson (born September 20, 1967) and Sam Hilliard Nelson (born August 29, 1974).
|Wedding of Rick and Kris in 1963|
The breakup of Kris and Rick Nelson's marriage was bitter and acrimonious. According to Gunnar, right before his parents separated, "my mom started drinking really heavily." He said, "She went to AA, but there were drunken battles that none of us will ever forget."
Tracy Nelson, the eldest of the four children, is 47 years old. She began her acting career at a young age. In 1968, when she was less than 5 years old, Tracy played one of Henry Fonda's daughters in the film Yours, Mine and Ours. In 1982, Tracy won the role of Valley Girl Jennifer DeNuccio in the short-lived TV high school sitcom, Square Pegs. Square Pegs only ran for 20 episodes, from 1982 to 1983.
|Tracy in Square Pegs|
On July 25, 1987, Tracy married actor William R. Moses, one of the stars of the prime time television series, Falcon Crest. The wedding took place on Catalina Island. A month after the marriage Tracy was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease, a form of cancer. She underwent surgery to remove parts of her liver and lymph nodes. After months of chemotherapy, her weight dropped drastically, but the cancer went ino remission. Tracy returned to television in 1989 as Sister Stephanie "Steve" Oskowski in The Father Dowling Mysteries.
The Father Dowling Mysteries (titled Father Dowling Investigates in the U.K.) began airing regularly in 1989 and ended in 1991. The series centred on the adventures of a Chicago priest named Father Frank Dowling, played by Tom Bosley of Happy Days fame. Aided by his sidekick, Sister Steve, the savvy priest and the streetwise nun continually stumbled on crimes such as abduction and murder. The clerical duo worked tirelessly to solve the cases.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Tracy made guest appearances on such television series as Family Ties (2 episodes, 1984-85), St. Elsewhere (1984), Matlock (1994), Melrose Place (4 episodes, 1994-1995), Touched by an Angel (1996) and Seinfeld (1998). In 1995, she performed on Broadway as Rizzo in Grease.
Tracy and Billy Moses divorced in 1997. They are the parents of a daughter named Remington Elizabeth Moses, born August 11, 1992. Tracy also has a son, Elijah Nelson Clark, born August 22, 2001. Elijah's father is director Chris Clark. (Editor's Note: On the IMDb website, Clark is described as Tracy's ex-boyfriend).
|Gunnar and Matthew|
Matthew and Gunnar are 43 years old now. Always musically inclined, they recorded a demo at the age of 11. Music became their refuge from the stress and unpleasantness of their parents' bitter divorce. In the fall of 1985, when they were 18 years old, due to issues with their mother, the brothers decided to move in with their dad. They were devastated when he died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve of that same year.
The blond-haired twins evenually formed a pop/rock band called Nelson. Their debut album was titled After the Rain, an allusion to their rueful family history. The album was a huge success and produced a Number 1 hit in 1990, "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection."
The matriarch of the family, Harriet Hilliard Nelson, who died in 1994 at the age of 85, lived to witness the accomplishments of her twin grandsons. She had great affection for Matthew and Gunnar. In 1991, she described them as her "pride and joy." She said, "I went out to the studio where they shot their video and felt at home again."
On July 14, 1995, Matthew Gray Nelson married model/actress Yvette Shilo Stevens. On March 10, 2009, he filed for divorce in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences. Gunnar Nelson currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee. In recent years, the brothers have performed together on cruise ships. In February of this year, twenty years after After the Rain, they released a new album titled Lightning Strikes Twice.
Sam Nelson, the youngest of Kris and Rick's children, is now 36. He is an actor and a musician. As a child, Sam was caught in the middle of the ugly custody battle between his parents. It was filled with accusations of profligate spending, poor parenting and drug abuse. At the age of six, Sam was placed in the care of his maternal grandparents, former football star Tom Harmon and his wife Elyse, a movie actress of the 1940s.
After Rick Nelson's death, young Sam was once again embroiled in a tug-of-war custody battle, this time between his mother and her brother, actor Mark Harmon. In 1987, Mark and his wife, Pam Dawber (of Mork and Mindy fame), attempted to win custody of their nephew on the basis that Kristen was an unfit mother.
Kristen Harmon Nelson had been plagued by psychological problems, drug and alcohol addictions. Prior to her well-publicized court battle with her brother and his wife, Kris underwent treatment for substance abuse at New Beginnings, a respected facility at L.A.'s Century City. She was eventually granted custody of Sam, although Mark and Pam were given visitation rights. Kris, Sam and Mark all agreed to participate in family therapy sessions.
Sadly, the nasty custody battle tore the Harmon family apart. Kris told People magazine that her parents "expected her to be a perfect person - and I guess I tried to be that." She said they were not pleased about her breakup with Rick. "As Roman Catholics, they've never forgiven me for getting the divorce. And they've never forgiven me for not being perfect." According to Kris, her family "never found fault with Ricky - they always blamed me for everything."
Sam Nelson survived his traumatic childhood. He became lead singer of a band called h is orange. Apparently, the group's name is derived from Sam's memory of seeing words and letters in colour. It represents a way of looking at things from a new and different perspective.
To watch a video of an interview with Sam Nelson, click on the link below.
To watch a video of Sam, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson singing their father's hit son, "Garden Party." click on the link below.
Rick Nelson also fathered a son named Eric Jude Crewe , born February 14, 1981. Eric's mother is Georgeann Crewe, whom Nelson met in 1980 at the Playboy Resort in Great Gorge, New Jersey. A 1985 blood test later confirmed that Rick was the child's father and he agreed to provide $400 per month in child support.
Editor's Update: (January 26, 2014): Matthew Nelson married model and actress Kari Ahlstrom in the fall of 2013. They are the parents of a son, Ozzie Matthew Nelson, born August 29, 2014.
Editor's Update: (December 28, 2014): Gunnar Nelson married Lila Kersavage on October 7, 2014. Here is their wedding photograph.
What ever happened to Sam - I heard he finally got married..his a fantastic guy.ReplyDelete
I have not found any information about Sam being married. If any readers know something, please let me know.Delete
Sam fathered a child but did not marry the mother, pays child supportDelete
Sam is single. Hes actually a good friend of mine.Delete
I heard he was engaged last was last year (2011) there is certainly a special someone. I heard the twins and Tracey sided with their mother - so they don't get on so well with Mark as Sam does. Sounds like it did spilt the family badly, that is a shame - they clearly did have everything.ReplyDelete
Sam's not married. He is a music executive. The family is closeDelete
I hope Sam has someone special - and if it is kept relatively quiet all the better!Delete
Based on recent comments online the family might not be as close as you think.
I just watched the video and WOW Sam looks just like his Dad and sounds like him too! The Twins do too but also have some of their Moms looks. Sam could be a young Ricky ; I love his songs / hasn't been forgotten .Delete
The twins are very close to Mark. Mark and Sam don't speak. Sam isn't married but has a special someone. This page needs updatedDelete
I am a Child of the Fifties. I watched Rick and The Nelsons faithfully every week on ABC TV. I found out I could sing all his songs with the same voice and Mannerisms he used. Of course none of us, realized what was going on behind the Scenes.. James Burton his highly Gifted Lead Guitadist eventually was lead Guitar for Elvis. I had been re- married in 1985 months before Rick was KilIed ai was numb.He Hasca Great Family, Wish them all the best..ReplyDelete
Gunnar's married I think - perhaps this website should be updated now er?ReplyDelete
Gunnar has or had a girlfriend named Lauren Levanduski. I do not know if they are still together. So far, I can not find information about him being married.ReplyDelete
Yes they are still very much together. They have been for 5 years. Gunner made that very clear on his Facebook. And he even thanked her for putting up with him in his Lightning Strikes Twice album.Delete
The published date on their album, "Lightning Strikes Twice" is 2010.Delete
We just saw he and his brother Matthew, who's getting married a day after his birthday,and congratulated him. When asked, Gunnar said, and he's "definitely NOT getting married. He's a swinging single!" They're doing currently concerts of themed:"Ricky Nelson Remembered" tribute of their father who passed away on December 31,1985. Talented musicians in their own right.
That's awesome, I am so happy and excited for Matthew. Isn't Matthew going to be a stepdad? Also I think if Gunnar has no plans of getting married after being with Lauren Levanduski for the past 5 years, than he needs to seriously stop leading her on.Delete
Matthew will have two teenaged step-sons, the elder a college-bound sixteen year old, is musical. As for Gunnar, in an interview he and brother did in early May. The interview began with favorite foods, and Matthew responded ice cream, while Gunnar said also macaroni and cheese and thought the interviewer was speaking of "break-up food," to which Matthew smiled and laughed, adverted his head; speaks volumes.Then interview continues.Delete
Gunnar and Lauren have parted - they spilt up in the last month or so. He is indeed single again, I heard (sadly) he cheated again. That's a shame I think it was his longest r'ship.Delete
Good on Matt, glad he has finally settled and I hope things work out.
They are both lovely guys, just made some bad choices women in the past!! LOL
I watched the Nelsons when I was small.Think of them often.Ricky Nelson had a voice that made you close your eyes and lesson.It seem in those days a lot of families had family issues .Mine did. Ive heard others sing his songs but nothing like him.I am now 61 and a lot of times I think people have forgotten. I never did.Loved them all.Delete
Congratulations to Matthew and his wife Kari, along with her two sons, Whalen and Tyler, on the arrival of a new baby in 2014!Delete
A biaby boy.Delete
I saw Matt and Gunnar in concert in Old Saybrook Connecticut in late July 2013. From the second row it was easy to see that Matt was wearing a wedding ring. So they were married before fall of 2013.Delete
Gunnar is married and living in Nashville... He's been wearing a toupe for too long though... Needs updated... He married a widow with children and seems very happy. Evidently they met a couple of years ago and has been married less than a year.Delete
He was on Celebrity Wife Swap tonight... June 25, 2015.
Matthew is a stepdad to 2. An older girl and a teenage boy.Delete
Doesn't Gunnar wear a wedding ring on the photo above or have you the twins named the wrong way round?ReplyDelete
Thanks for pointing that out. You have eagle eyes. Matthew has to be the one wearing the wedding ring because he was married. Sorry, if I've mixed the brothers up. They are hard to tell apart. I have corrected the mistake.Delete
Matt is soon to be married to Kari Ahlstrom and will become a step-dad, don't know how many children. Gunnar is still dating Lauren (the nurse). I think they have both settled down a hell of a lot in the last couple of years....good on them. But I do hope they don't go under the knife again, as I don't like it and they don't need it!!ReplyDelete
Congratulations to Matthew and Kari! As for Gunnar, I just saw him at a concert, and he is indeed very single!ReplyDelete
Not...so sure, I thought he was still with Lauren and her Facebook/Myspace pages still imply that........they live together. Perhaps she just wasn't around at that time.....she works so she wouldn't be able to travel with him.....Gunnar and Lauren were still together in May 2012ReplyDelete
Gunnar met Lila in October 2012 at one of his concerts.Delete
Hi - any news on the twins and any new photos? I was going to join their website but they seem to charge for everything.... :(ReplyDelete
It is totally free to join their site. There is also a fan club site, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson Fan Group if anyone would like to join.Delete
Their website hasn't been updated in months. It's rather sad that they are selling personal things on ebay.ReplyDelete
I think it should be updated who got married, girlfriend's, Children Etc!ReplyDelete
Does anyone have addresses for Sam Hilliard and Eric Crewe - Ricky Nelson's 2 sons? A friend wants to write all 4 of Ricky Nelson's sons and correspond with them - he grew up with Ricky Nelson's life's work - thanks. my name is Ian and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org if anybody knows how I can find an address for Sam Nelson/Hilliard and Eric Crewe - thank you all. sincerely Ian...ReplyDelete
Yea eric is my personal friend he lives in pleasantville /egg harbor nj right now he on vacation.. i will tell him to get in touch with you @email@example.comDelete
Sam is a very longtime friend of mine and I will send him this link and have him reply. Thanks!Delete
Ian - why don't you contact them both on Facebook as they are on there.....ReplyDelete
I have recently heard that Sam is married with kids....
The twins are very special to me, I think so much of them.
Heidi (Nat's sister! See above)
I would like to know if Sam Nelson is Married or has any Children and to who?ReplyDelete
Their Mother is Crazy to have 18 Dog's running Around!
I would like to know about Gunnar seeing anyone special?
Sam is not married and has no children. Their mother adores dogs, and no stary is tunred away. She does not have 18 dogs! And, Gunnar is single.ReplyDelete
Gunnar isn't married but he isn't 'single' he is in a committed relationship. I overheard him at a recent show saying he's found 'The one.' Good for him!Delete
No, you 'overheard' wrong. He is single.Delete
They didn't overhear wrong, her name is Lila, they've been together since 2012. They are now married. I would know...she's my aunt.Delete
The story doesn't tell what Gunnar's New Girlfriend name is other than she lives in Arizona! Doesn't matter as long as he is happy!ReplyDelete
Her name is Lila. She's my aunt. They are now married.Delete
It actually doesn't say she lives in Arizona but that she was from there. I saw her at a recent show and she was very nice. I'm very happy for Gunnar and wish them both all the happiness in the world. They looked very much in love. He deserves it!ReplyDelete
I was in AZ tonight and caught the show. It was amazing, and Gunnar looks truly and genuinely happy.ReplyDelete
Gunnar always looks genuinely happy. That woman is a divorcee originally from Gilbert, Arizona who lives in Nashville with her kids.ReplyDelete
Does Gunnar's Newest Girlfriend have a Name? Just out of Curiosity!ReplyDelete
Anyone Know? Thank You!Delete
Gunnar is married to a widow with kids and her name is Lila... They live in Nashville.Delete
What about David Nelson and his family?ReplyDelete
I posted a piece about David Nelson on January 12, 2011, just after his death. It is entitled "David Nelson: Growing up on the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." Check out.Delete
Did Gunnar and Matthew ever go to College? Thanks!ReplyDelete
Gunnar's getting married in OctoberReplyDelete
On October 7, 2014.. He will be a step-father to three girls, including one in high school, who lost their father three years ago.Delete
Gunnar became a husband AND father that day, according to him. The rest is no ones business.Delete
He announced it at a show in Costa Mesa last weekend. He probably didn't say it last year because he wasn't engaged at the time.ReplyDelete
Is there any new news for Tracy or Sam? What are they up to these days?ReplyDelete
Today, Tracy is a prolific and articulate writer. A few years ago she did a movie with an Irish brogue; which is great since her late maternal grandfather was Irish. She's great with accents. Her youngest brother, Sam, is a music executive, and just turned forty recently. Her brother Matthew just welcomed his first son into his family.ReplyDelete
Any New News with the Family? Thank You!ReplyDelete
All is well with the family. Matthew and Gunnar have a Christmas show for the month of December, concert dates are on their website. Looking forward to the holidays with their familes.ReplyDelete
Went to Gunnar and Matthews show tonight dec. 9, 2014 in Gulf Shores, AL. IT WAS GREAT. a great look back at a happier time and very talented singers. Enjoyed it. Gunnar recently married and has three step daughters. Matthew married has baby boy named Ozzie.ReplyDelete
went to their concert last night at Falls View casino Niagara Falls. It was well done and a rememberance to Ricky by Matthew and Gunner. They talked about their family and mentioned being both married and Matthew and wife having a baby last year .Great show and brought back a lot of old memeries.ReplyDelete
From what I read, Ozzie & Harriet tried to rein in Ricky, but he was a brat. He was very good looking and unfortunately we know how people kow tow to that. Couple that with the societal upheaval of the 1960s and it is a pretty much a recipe for a dysfunctional family.ReplyDelete
Growing up with the Ozzie and Harriet show gave me peace that I needed when my family was falling apart. My most precious possessions were my Eric Hilliard(Ricky, Rick Nelson) 45's and albums. Here I am at the age of 70 still holding those treasures close to my heart. I was lucky enough to hear him in person, to shake his hand, and to have him sign one of my treasured albums in June 1985. I'll never forget Rick or his family and just say Thank you,FaithReplyDelete
Rick was a very kind, good hearted, understanding person! He loved his fans very much & had always took the time to sign autographs!!!!!! Once or twice he even missed his plane catching fans on his way to the plane, but had taken to long & his plane left without him!!!!!! I also seen Rick in Barron, Wisconsin in 1983..I have always loved him & WILL always love him I even wrote a song about him & the plane crash called Last Flight!! Rick I WILL ALWAYS MISS YOU..LOVE YOU ALWAYS!!!!!ReplyDelete
I love the show psych, I always knew that was Sam Nelson as the lead role....his mom even played the captain in the show, he was engaged to the lead police woman on the show....Well Sam you fooled a lot of people, but never me, you are a clone of your Dad..love your show and you are a wonderful actor.....ReplyDelete
I've got lost at this point - which show are you talking about Cherie? I've gone back to look but cannot find what you are talking about. Like Jolie I had no idea all this was out there until I got really nostalgic last night for Rick's music and have been having a marathon session (didn't go to bed at all and it's 3pm now). Ricky had such a pure voice, effortless, and I agree that Sam is incredibly close in looks and sound, plus both of them were left with their grandparents when very young so their psyches may well be matched as well. Long live rock 'n roll.Delete
Ah, I wonder if the show is named Psych, I thought that was part of your comment. I'll look it up, but it may not be available in the UK...Delete
James Roday was the lead in Psych - not Sam Nelson. I do admit there is a similarity in appearance to Ricky Nelson, but he is most definitely not his son.Delete
Wow! I didn't know there was so much out there about him. I was devastated by his death I never could look up much on him. I knew about the tussle with Mark and Kris but that was pretty much it. Thanks for a good post. I know its dated but thanks for it anyway.ReplyDelete
If anyone is interested in joining the twin fan group, it is called Matthew and Gunnar Fan Group with over 2000 members. Yes Matt is married to Kari and has a child with her named Ozzie, 2 stepchildren and a grandfather to 2 children. Gunnar is married to Lila and has 3 daughters. Both are extremely happy and still touring.ReplyDelete
Kristen Harmon Nelson passed away unexpectedly yesterday, April 26, 2018. Tracy Nelson posted it today on Facebook.ReplyDelete
The first time I saw Psych\James Roday, I thought "Dang, this guy could play Ricky Nelson".ReplyDelete