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Nancy Olson

Nancy Olson

Birth name: Nancy Ann Olson
Born: July 14, 1928
Age: 96
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
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Nancy Ann Olson (born July 14, 1928) is an American actress. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, for her portrayal of Betty Schaefer in Sunset Boulevard (1950). She co-starred with William Holden in four films, and also later appeared in Disney's The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) and its sequel, Son of Flubber (1963), as well as the disaster film Airport 1975 (1974).

Since the early 1980s, Olson has been virtually retired from acting, although she has made a few rare returns, most recently in 2014.


Personal life

Olson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of Evelyn Bertha (née Bergstrom 1901-1979), whose parents were from Sweden, and Henry John Olson, who was a physician. She has a brother, David Olson.

She became the third wife of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner in 1950 and had two daughters, Liza and Jennifer. They divorced in 1957.

In 1962 she married longtime Capitol Records executive Alan W. Livingston, best known for creating "Bozo the Clown" and for signing Frank Sinatra and The Beatles, among other legends, with Capitol. He died in 2009; they had one son, Christopher. Olson is a registered Democrat and over the years has made several money donations coinciding with her party under her married name.


Olson was signed to a film contract by Paramount Pictures in 1948 and, after a few supporting roles, producers began to consider her for more prominent parts. She was up for the role of Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille's film Samson and Delilah (1949), for which Olson later said she was not suited. She was passed over in favor of Hedy Lamarr. Her first big role came in Canadian Pacific (also 1949) with Randolph Scott, then Billy Wilder cast her for his upcoming project. In Sunset Boulevard (1950) she played Betty Schaefer, for which she gained an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her pairing with William Holden was considered a success and she appeared with him in three other films (Union Station, Force of Arms, and Submarine Command, all released the following year except for the first), but none repeated their success in Sunset Boulevard. Other film credits include Big Jim McLain (1952), So Big (1953), Battle Cry (1955), and Dumbbells (2014).

Olson made several appearances in films for the Walt Disney studio. The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) and Son of Flubber (1963) paired her with Fred MacMurray and were popular with movie-goers. She also appeared alongside Hayley Mills in Pollyanna and Dean Jones in Snowball Express (1972). Olson then moved to New York City where she appeared on Broadway.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, she did guest roles on television. Olson guest starred on the Television series The Big Valley playing the mother of Ron Howard in the December 1, 1965 episode entitled Night of the Wolf. Olson has been retired since the mid-1980s, although she made a brief, uncredited appearance in Flubber, the 1997 remake of The Absent-Minded Professor.



Year Title Role Notes
1949 Canadian Pacific Cecille Gautier
1950 Sunset Boulevard Betty Schaefer
1950 Union Station Joyce Willecombe
1950 Mr. Music Katherine Holbrook
1951 Force of Arms Lt. Eleanor MacKay
1951 Submarine Command Carol
1952 Big Jim McLain Nancy Vallon
1953 So Big Dallas O'Mara
1954 Boy from Oklahoma, TheThe Boy from Oklahoma Katie Brannigan
1955 Battle Cry Mrs. Pat Rogers
1960 Pollyanna Nancy Furman
1961 Absent-Minded Professor, TheThe Absent-Minded Professor Betsy Carlisle
1963 Son of Flubber Elizabeth "Betsy" Brainard
1969 Smith! Norah Smith
1972 Snowball Express Sue Baxter
1974 Airport 1975 Mrs. Abbott
1982 Making Love Christine
1987 Sparky's Magic Piano (voice) Video
1997 Flubber Ford Secretary
2014 Dumbbells Bianca Cummings


Year Title Role Notes
1954 Ford Theatre Kitty O'Dare Episode: "For the Love of Kitty"
1954 Lux Video Theatre Lisa Episode: "Spent in Silence"
1954 Best of Broadway, TheThe Best of Broadway Gwen Cavendish Episode: "The Royal Family"
1955 Producers' Showcase Peggy Day Episode: "The Women"
1956 Ford Star Jubilee Judith Episode: "High Tor"
1958 United States Steel Hour, TheThe United States Steel Hour Joyce Richmond Episode: "Second Chance"
1958 General Electric Theater Judith Gay Episode: "The Last Rodeo"
1959 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Jan Manning Episode: "Total Loss"
1960 Startime Peggy Thomas Episode: "The Greatest Man Alive"
1961 Alcoa Premiere Amber Baring Episode: "Family Outing"
1963 Channing Mrs. Landon Episode: "Collision Course"
1965 Big Valley, TheThe Big Valley Julia Jenkins Episode: "Night of the Wolf"
1971 Name of the Game, TheThe Name of the Game Ann Latham Episode: "Beware of the Watchdog"
1972 Gunsmoke Henrietta Donavan Episode: "Yankton"
1972 Police Surgeon Judge Episode: "Death Holds the Scale"
1973 Love Story Mrs. Ross Episode: "Mirabelle's Summer"
1974 Banacek Louise Merrick Episode: "Now You See Me, Now You Don't"
1975 Streets of San Francisco, TheThe Streets of San Francisco Jeannie Morris Episode: "Web of Lies"
1976 Kingston: Confidential Jessica Frazier TV series
1977 Barnaby Jones Thelma Thompson Episode: "Testament of Power"
1984 Paper Dolls Marjorie Harper Main role (13 episodes)
2010 Big Love Katherine Episode: "Strange Bedfellows"

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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