The Screening Room: Remembering Follies Star Gene Nelson

News   The Screening Room: Remembering Follies Star Gene Nelson
Tony nominee Gene Nelson, best known to theatre fans for originating the role of Buddy in Follies, would have turned 95 today. Born March 24, 1920, in Seattle, he began working on the stage, pursued a career in film musicals and drama, and returned to Broadway at age 51 to create the iconic role in Sondheim and Goldman's musical.

His film career included "This Is the Army" (which he had also done on Broadway), "Gentleman's Agreement" and "Lullabye of Broadway." His directing career included two Elvis Presley movies, and episodes of "Star Trek," "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Gunsmoke."

His Broadway career included the revue Lend an Ear and the 1974 revival of Good News.

The highlight of his Hollywood career was playing Will Parker in the 1955 film version of Oklahoma! Here is a clip of him singing "Kansas City" and performing Agnes de Mille's choreography. Nelson's dance break begins at the 2:23 mark.

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