Gene Nelson
Gene Nelson interview
Gene Nelson directed six episodes of Season 1.
General Information:
Occupation: TV/film screenwriter, Director, Producer and Actor
Years active: 1938 to 1980
Sex: Male
Birth name: Leander Eugene Berg
Date of birth: (1920-03-24)24 March 1920
Born in: Seattle, Washington
Died: 16 September 1996(1996-09-16)
Died in: Seattle, Washington
Spouse(s): Miriam Franklin (1941–1956) one child
Marilyn Morgan (1958–1974) two children

Jean Martin (1990 – ?)

Series/character information
Appeared on/in
and/or involved with:
I Dream of Jeannie
Number of episodes: directed 6 from seasons 3-5

Gene Nelson (born Leander Eugene Berg) directed six episodes of I Dream of Jeannie in Season 1, beginning with the series' pilot episode, "The Lady in the Bottle". The episode "Whatever Became of Baby Custer?" was his last.


Born in Astoria, Oregon, he moved to Seattle when he was one year old. He was barely a teen when he saw the Fred Astaire movie Flying Down to Rio (1933), which would change his life. It was then that he decided he would be a dancer. After graduating from high school, Nelson joined the Sonja Henie Ice Show, and toured for three years before joining the US Army in World War II. After he was discharged, he appeared in a handful of movies before 1950. He worked with Debbie Reynolds in The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady (1950), Doris Day in Tea for Two (1950) and Virginia Mayo in She's Working Her Way Through College (1952). He would be best known for his role of cowboy Will Parker in Oklahoma! (1955), where he would twirl the lasso to the tune of "Kansas City".

After his dancing days ended he turned to directing TV and films, including two Elvis Presley movies, Kissin' Cousins (1964) and Harum Scarum (1965). For television he directed episodes of Star Trek, I Dream of Jeannie , Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, The Donna Reed Show and many others. He also taught in the Theater Arts Department at CSU San Francisco in the late 1980s.


Nelson died of cancer, aged 76, in Los Angeles. He was survived by three children, Douglas, Victoria and Chris.

Awards and Nominations

Year Award Result Category Film
1951 Golden Globe Award Win Most Promising Newcomer Tea for Two
1965 Writers Guild of America Award Nominated Best Written American Musical Kissin' Cousins (Shared with Gerald Drayson Adams)

External Links