Born Dixie Kay Nelson in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on August 15, 1933, petite actress Lori Nelson spent her formative years working in radio and as a child model. Longing to be an actress, she succeeded early when Universal-International put her under contract on her 17th birthday. Coming up through the studio system, Nelson had to wait for nearly two years before her first film opened, which was Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair (1952; with Marjorie Main). She went on to star in Universal's cult classic Revenge of the Creature (1955; with John Agar and John Bromfield) and had a supporting role in RKO's Underwater! (1955; with Jane Russell).

Lori NelsonLori NelsonLori NelsonLori Nelson

Lori Nelson promotional photos, mostly from Universal

When Nelson's Universal-International contract lapsed, she freelanced in mostly low-budget films, such as Hot Rod Girl (1956; with John Smith and Chuck Connors) and Untamed Youth (1957; with Mamie Van Doren). In 1957, she accepted a part in the syndicated TV series How to Marry A Millionaire alongside Merry Anders and Barbara Eden. However, Nelson left the show after the first season and was replaced by Lisa Gaye. The series was canceled in 1959 after two seasons.

the films of lori nelson

Francis Goes to West Point (1952)

Lori Nelson and William Reynolds

With William Reynolds in the Universal-International comedy Francis Goes to West Point

Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair (1952)

James Best, Lori Nelson, and Marjorie Main

With James Best and Marjorie Main in the Universal-International series comedy Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair

All American (1953)

Richard Long, Lori Nelson, and Tony Curtis

With Richard Long and Tony Curtis in the Universal-International romance All American

Tumbleweed (1953)

Lori Nelson, Roy Roberts, and Russell Johnson

With Roy Roberts and Russell Johnson in Tumbleweed

Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955)

Lori Nelson and Byron PalmerLori Nelson

From the film series Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki. LEFT: With Byron Palmer. RIGHT: Promotional photo

Revenge of the Creature (1955)

Lori Nelson and John AgarJohn Agar and Lori NelsonLori Nelson

From Revenge of the Creature, the first sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon. LEFT and CENTER: With John Agar. RIGHT: Nelson gets carried off by the Creature

Underwater! (1955)

Lori Nelson and Gilbert Roland

Gilbert Roland puts the moves on Lori Nelson in RKO's adventure Underwater!

Day the World Ended (1956)

Lori Nelson and Paul Blaisdell

From Roger Corman's campy sci-fi effort Day the World Ended. Here, Lori Nelson wrestles with mutant Paul Blaisdell

Pardners (1956)

Dean Martin, Agnes Moorehead, and Lori Nelson

With Dean Martin and Agnes Moorehead in the Martin and Lewis western comedy Pardners

Untamed Youth (1957)

Lori Nelson and Mamie Van Doren

With Mamie Van Doren in the tortured teen flick Untamed Youth, released by Warner Bros.

How to Marry a Millionaire (1957-1959 Syndicated TV Series)

Barbara Eden, Lori Nelson, and Merry AndersLori Nelson, Barbara Eden, and Merry Anders

Promotional photos from the series How to Marry a Millionaire with Barbara Eden and Merry Anders

Dante (1960-1961 NBC TV Series)

Lori Nelson and Howard Duff

From the NBC TV series Dante in a 1961 episode titled Dial D for Dante. Also pictured is series star Howard Duff

later years

Nelson's career slowed when she married her first husband, composer Johnny Mann, in 1960. With the constraints of marriage and motherhood, she worked only sporadically, taking guest roles on popular television series, including many westerns. Her marriage to Mann ended in 1973, but she chose not to return to acting full-time. Nelson remarried in 1983 and, in addition to her antiques business, dabbled in film and theatre from time to time. Sadly, after a battle with Altzheimer's disease, Lori Nelson passed away on August 23, 2020, at the age of 87. She is survived by two daughters and her second husband.

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The Naked Monster (2005) with John Agar, Robert Clarke, Brinke Stevens, and Paul Marco
Mom, Can I Keep Her? (1998) with Gil Gerard, Kevin Dobson, Alana Stewart, Brinke Stevens, and Mary Woronov
Secret Sins of the Father (1994) with Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, and Lee Purcell
Outlaw's Son (1957) with Dane Clark, Ben Cooper, and Ellen Drew
Untamed Youth (1957) with Mamie Van Doren, John Russell, and Yvonne Lime
The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957) with Van Johnson and Kay Starr
The Day the World Ended (1956) with Richard Denning, Adele Jergens, and Mike Connors
Hot Rod Girl (1956) with John Smith, Chuck Connors, and Frank Gorshin
Pardners (1956) with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Lon Chaney Jr.
Mohawk (1956) with Scott Brady and Allison Hayes
I Died a Thousand Times (1955) with Jack Palance, Shelley Winters, and Lon Chaney Jr.
Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955) with Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride, and Russell Johnson
Revenge of the Creature (1955) with John Agar and John Bromfield
Sincerely Yours (1955) with Liberace, Joanne Dru, Dorothy Malone, William Demarest, Lurene Tuttle, and Guy Williams
Underwater! (1955) with Jane Russell, Gilbert Roland, and Richard Egan
Destry (1954) with Audie Murphy and Mari Blanchard
All American (1953) with Tony Curtis, Richard Long, Stuart Whitman, and Mamie Van Doren
Tumbleweed (1953) with Audie Murphy, Russell Johnson, and Lee Van Cleef
Walking My Baby Back Home (1953) with Donald O'Connor
All I Desire (1953) with Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Carlson, and Richard Long
Francis Goes to West Point (1952) with Donald O'Connor
Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair (1952) with Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride, and James Best
Bend of the River (1952) with James Stewart, Julie Adams, and Rock Hudson

How to Marry a Millionaire, 1957-1959 syndicated TV series. Nelson portrayed Greta Hanson from 1957-1958. Also starring in this series were Merry Anders, Barbara Eden, and Lisa Gaye

Family Affair, episode Goodbye, Mrs. Beasley, originally aired February 18, 1971
Armstrong Circle Theatre, episode Days of Confusion: The Story of College Admissions, originally aired September 13, 1961
Whispering Smith, episode Double Edge, originally aired August 7, 1961
Bachelor Father, episode Drop That Calorie, originally aired July 6, 1961
Laramie, episode Trigger Point, originally aired May 16, 1961
The Tab Hunter Show, episode Sultan for a Day, originally aired March 5, 1961
Dante, episode Dial D for Dante, originally aired January 16, 1961
The Tab Hunter Show, episode My Darling Teacher, originally aired November 27, 1960
Lock Up, episode The Seventh Hour, originally aired November 5, 1960
Tales of Wells Fargo, episode Relay Station, originally aired December 28, 1959
Sugarfoot, episode The Gaucho, originally aired December 22, 1959
General Electric Theater, episode Night Club, originally aired October 11, 1959
The Millionaire, episode Millionaire Lorraine Daggett, originally aired September 29, 1959
Wagon Train, episode The Steele Family, originally aired June 17, 1959
The Texan, episode The Man Hater, originally aired June 15, 1959
Wanted: Dead or Alive, episode Bounty for a Bride, originally aired April 4, 1959
The 20th Century-Fox Hour, episode Threat to a Happy Ending, originally aired May 29, 1957
Climax!, episode Strange Hostage, originally aired December 20, 1956
Climax!, episode Fear Strikes Out, originally aired August 18, 1955
It's a Great Life, episode Foster Father, originally aired March 8, 1955
It's a Great Life, episode Winter Sports, originally aired February 22, 1955

lori nelson film now showing

Watch Lori Nelson in the 1955 sci-fi flick Day the World Ended
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