Despite many accomplishments, Ozzie Nelson's grave at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills cemetery is marked with an unassuming plaque that simply reads, "Oswald G. Nelson, Beloved Husband and Father, 1906-1975."
Because of a contract that gave him broad creative powers, Nelson was able to control many production details on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. For example, Ozzie and his wife shared the same bed on camera, unheard of on TV in the 1950s.
Though an honor student, a notable athlete, a musician, and later - a TV star and producer - Ozzie Nelson originally wanted to be a professional cartoonist.
Matthew Nelson, grandson of Ozzie, has said that his father (Ricky Nelson) was very careful when growing up, as almost any personal interest or occurrence in his life might be made into a television episode by Ozzie.
Part of Nelson's career success may have been because his manager sent a number of ballots from unsold New York Daily Mirror newspapers into a "best radio band" contest. As a result, The Ozzie Nelson Orchestra ranked ahead of the biggest national swing bands of the 1930s.
Ozzie Nelson and his wife got their first real acting breaks when they performed occasional skits on Red Skelton's radio program. When Skelton left the airwaves temporarily for military service in 1944, these comedy segments became the nucleus for the radio version of "Ozzie and Harriet."
When Ozzie Nelson was thirteen years old he became the youngest boy of his time to rise to the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
Ozzie Nelson was listed as number 21 on TV Guide's June 20, 2004 list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time."
In order to add a sense of "family" authenticity to the series, Ozzie Nelson had the exterior of the home on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet constructed as a near-duplicate of his real house in Hollywood.
In honor of his contributions to television, Nelson has a star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame."
Shortly before his death, Ozzie Nelson caused a stir among some of his fans when he supposedly admitted that he was an atheist in his 1973 autobiography Ozzie. The book is now out of print, and the contention is disputed.
Nelson was very interested in TV production and production values. Unlike much television in the early 1950s, he insisted that The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet be shot on 35 mm film rather than broadcast live or recorded on fragile low-quality kinescope.
Ozzie Nelson graduated from Rutgers University and later attended law school there, often using his musical talents to fund his tuition and fees.
Nelson played the ukulele, banjo, and saxophone. His band, The Ozzie Nelson Orchestra, recorded over thirty hits that made top twenty in sales - including the number one song "And Then Some." According to Nelson's nephew Michael Griffin, Ozzie loved most types of music, from classical to rock-and-roll, though he was annoyed that the "British Invasion" may have hurt his son Ricky's career.
Harriet Hilliard was a singer in Ozzie Nelson's swing band when they married in 1935. They had two children, Ricky and David, both of whom starred on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Ricky Nelson also achieved fame as a pop singer and David established himself as a director.
Nelson was a fine athlete, excelling in many sports as a youth and becoming a member of the football and boxing teams in college. His devotion to college football was evident when he wrote and performed the song "Loyal Sons of Rutgers" with his orchestra in the later 1930s.
Ozzie Nelson: (on the production of his long-running television series) We're truly a family project. The program is entirely on our shoulders.
Ozzie Nelson: (in a 1953 interview, explaining why his TV character never had a specified job) I think it's better that way. It might limit me if I had portray a plumber every week.