Saturday, February 2, 2008

Til Death Do Us Part – The Nelsons

The second couple I am highlighting this month is Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. Before my time, they became the example of what was best about America and family life when their entire family starred in The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.

Their story began in 1932 when Ozzie Nelson caught Harriet Hillard's singing act at the Hollywood Restaurant. Ozzie knew this was what Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra needed, so he approached her about joining him.

Harriet was earning more on her own than what she would earn by joining him. But, a wise friend suggested that she try it out for the summer. The summer turned into two years, but with no romance. But with the same hard working values—Harriet supporting her mother and Ozzie helping to put a younger brother through school—they found a friendship that developed into love. But, when Ozzie asked Harriet to marry him she refused the first few times. She finally was ready to accept him in August of 1935.

Ozzie and Harriet Nelson
Ozzie couldn't afford an engagement ring, but they were married in a simple ceremony at her mother's apartment in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Ozzie and Harriet with their two sons portraited themselves on television from 1952 to 1966.

Ozzie died on June 3, 1975 from cancer, Harriet continued to act until her death on October 2, 1994 of heart failure.

Perhaps one of the reasons this marriage lasted had something to do with what Harriet was quoted as saying, "Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself."

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