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September 8, 2006

TV star emcees President's Gala Sept. 26 at ULM

Actor Ed Nelson, who starred alongside Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal in the hit television drama "Peyton Place," has appeared in over 200 TV shows and more than 30 movies. On Sept. 26, he'll make yet another appearance — at the President's Gala on ULM's campus. Nelson will emcee the event.

Nelson's participation in the fundraiser, which will benefit the School of Visual and Performing Arts, will bring great energy to the event, said Keith White, director of VAPA.

"I'm very excited that longtime TV and film actor Ed Nelson has agreed to emcee the President's Gala. With his experience, handsome demeanor and rich voice, Ed will bring an exciting energy to the Biedenharn Stage. He is a special addition to our 75th year celebration," White said.

Born on Dec. 21, 1928 in New Orleans, Nelson began acting while attending Tulane University. He left Tulane after two years to study at the New York School of Radio and Television Technique. After graduating, he became the director at WDSU-TV in New Orleans. His acting career quickly became his central focus, and in 1956, he moved to the Los Angeles area to pursue his dream.

Nelson won the famous role of Dr. Michael Rossi on "Peyton Place," which ran from 1964-1969. At 514 episodes, "Peyton Place" ranks second only to "Gunsmoke" in the number of episodes for a dramatic series in primetime TV.

Dr. Rossi became such a popular character that Nelson reprised his role in two made-for-TV movies, "Murder in Peyton Place" and "Peyton Place: The Next Generation."

Nelson also starred in the daytime soap "Capitol" (1982-1987) as Sen. Mark Denning. His TV appearances include "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," "Murder She Wrote," "Twilight Zone," "Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "Dallas," "Charlie's Angels," "MacGyver," "Perry Mason" and "CHIPs," to name a few. Some of Nelson's film appearances include "Runaway Jury" (2003), "There's Something About Mary" (1998) and "Police Academy 3: Back in Training" (1986).

While living in Los Angeles, Nelson was an active member of the Screen Actors Guild and was elected to the Board of Directors, which he served for several years.

In 1999, Nelson returned to Tulane University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 2000. He taught acting and screenwriting in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005.

Nelson is a longtime member of the American Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he participates in voting for the Academy Awards.

Nelson and his wife of 53 years, Patsy, have six children, including son Greg Nelson, director of annual giving at ULM, and 14 grandchildren.

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