Gary Nelson, Original Freaky Friday & Black Hole Director, Dies At 87

Director Gary Nelson has died at the age of 87. Nelson was a director and producer in both the film and television industry. For films, he is most known for directing the original Freaky Friday released in 1976 and starring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris. Nelson also directed the 1979 science fiction film, The Black Hole.

Though Nelson had been retired for a number of years prior to his death, the director had a flourishing career for nearly five decades. He broke into the film and TV industry in 1955 as an assistant director on films like Rebel Without a Cause and Guys and Dolls. Nelson also directed many episodes of different TV shows, including The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. His last project was directing and co-executive producing the TV show Early Edition, which ran from 1997-2000.


Related: Every Version Of Freaky Friday & The Parent Trap, Ranked

Nelson has now passed away at the age of 87, according to THR. Though his death is only now being reported, Nelson actually passed away earlier this year, on May 25, 2022. According to his son Garrett, Nelson died in Las Vegas of natural causes. Nelson is survived by sons Garrett and Blue Nelson.

Scene from 1970 movie The Black Hole

During his life, Nelson was married to his wife Meredith for 52 years, prior to her death in 2014. He was well known on film and TV sets for his deadpan sense of humor. When working on the series Get Smart from 1966-1969, main actor Don Adams nicknamed him “The Iceman” due to him and the other actors rarely getting Nelson to smile. Even with this dry wit, Nelson worked on a wide variety of material that was both comedic and dramatic. He directed episodes of TV series such as The Andy Griffith Show, Gunsmoke, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, The Patty Duke Show, F Troop, Gilligan’s Island, and Police Story. He received an Emmy nomination for directing the drama miniseries Washington: Behind Closed Doors.

Despite his early retirement from filmmaking back in 2000, Nelson still leaves behind a huge legacy. Throughout his career, he showed audiences his huge range in both his capacity as director and producer. Other works of his include Captain Nice, Good Morning World, Gomer Pyle: USMC, The Doris Day Show, Love, American Style, Room 222, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Nanny and the Professor, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, McMillan & Wife, Kojak, Old Dogs, Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold, and Lady Blue.

Source: THR