Actor Ed Nelson, 'Peyton Place' star, is dead at 85

Story highlights

  • Ed Nelson is credited with 436 episodes of "Peyton Place" starting in 1964
  • He was in Roger Corman's B movies "Swamp Women" and "Attack of the Crab Monsters"
  • Nelson was Gov. Neilson in the 1986 comedy "Police Academy 3: Back in Training"
  • His last role was in "Runaway Jury," a 2003 film starring Dustin Hoffman, John Cusack

Ed Nelson, best known for playing a doctor in the 1960s nighttime soap opera "Peyton Place," has died at 85, his family said.

Nelson, a New Orleans native, died Saturday at his Greensboro, North Carolina, home from congestive heart failure, daughter-in-law Asta Hansen said. 

Nelson's acting resume stretches back to 1952 when his job was to play a man waiting in an airport ticket line in a film called "The Steel Trap." His last role was in "Runaway Jury," a 2003 film starring Dustin Hoffman, John Cusack and Gene Hackman.

The five decades between those jobs were filled with hundreds of television and movie roles, including several of Roger Corman's low-budget B movies in the 1950s -- such as "Swamp Women" and "Attack of the Crab Monsters."

The 1960s brought cowboy roles in hit TV series including "Rawhide," "Gunsmoke" and "Have Gun -- Will Travel."

Ed Nelson in 1964 while he was on 'Peyton Place.'

Nelson is created with 436 episodes of "Peyton Place," which starred Ryan O'Neal and Barbara Parkins, starting in 1964. He was Michael Rossi, the town physician. He also appeared in the TV reunion movies for the show.

He continued acting mostly on TV, through the 1990s, including playing several characters on "Murder, She Wrote" from 1985 to 1995. Nelson was Gov. Neilson in the 1986 franchise film comedy "Police Academy 3: Back in Training."

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