by Ed Nelson

Beyond Peyton Place, although based upon the life and times of Ed Nelson, is much more than the biography of an actor who claims, in his own words, to have clawed and scratched his way to the middle. It is a fascinating recounting of the professional career of someone who has climbed to professional heights far greater than the “middle,” and who did it while always giving top billing to his wife and six children.

There was not a performance genre in which Ed Nelson did not excel. He began doing high school and college amateur theater, became a floor director for a local TV station, accepted small movie roles filmed in and around New Orleans, and then moved his then-small family to Hollywood, without even enough money to own an automobile. He took whatever roles he could get in film, TV, and theater, and never looked back. Over the next fifty years he appeared in 40 movie roles, over 1,500 TV productions, 30 major stage appearances, and although best known for his starring role for five years as Dr. Mike Rossi in Peyton Place, was a resounding hit as Harry S Truman in the marvelous one-man show Give ’em Hell Harry! which toured the United States for almost a year. He succeeded Academy-Award winner James Whitmore, who originated the role.

Ed Nelson will tell you that his life story is as much about those luminaries, both male and female, with whom he has shared the stage and camera, as it is about himself. Blessed with a phenomenal memory, he offers up stories, some amusing and some sad, but always with an underlying message that will give aspiring actors guidance and encouragement in their quest for a successful career.

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