Rick Nelson & Mulholland Farm
Ricky Nelson grew up in a show business family, the son of bandleader Ozzie Nelson and singer and film actress Harriet Hilliard. At age 12 Ricky Nelson and his family became national sensations through the television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and by the late 1950s, Ricky Nelson was a singer-actor teen heartthrob who racked up one hit single after another. In 1959 he reached his zenith playing a young gunslinger at Errol Flynn's old studio, Warner Brothers, in the John Wayne Western, Rio Bravo.
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet ended its amazing run in 1966; Ricky Nelson had started the show as a pre-teen and ended it as a husband and father after marrying Kristin Harmon, daughter of University of Michigan football star Tom Harmon and actress Elyse Knox, in 1963's "wedding of the year."
Rick Nelson (who dropped the 'y' from his name on his 21st birthday) continued to perform in relative obscurity with his Stone Canyon Band until releasing the single Garden Party in 1972, in which he recounted an experience performing at an oldies concert at Madison Square Garden and was roundly booed for playing new material instead of his old hits. "You can't please everyone," he wrote in Garden Party, "so you got to please yourself."
Garden Party reached number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Rick Nelson maintained his celebrity status through the 1970s, appearing in television shows ranging from the Midnight Special to Solid Gold, The Streets of San Francisco, and Saturday Night Live, while continuing to perform with his band. It was a tumultuous time for Rick and Kristin Nelson, who had produced four children—daughter Tracy, and sons Gunnar, Matthew, and Sam—despite a relationship that was rocky at best.
In 1980, Rick learned that the home of his screen idol, Errol Flynn, was on the market. In what can only be described as an impulse buy, Rick Nelson purchased the now-deteriorating Mulholland Farm and moved his family there for one last marital stand. Rick Nelson owned Mulholland Farm at the time of his death in a plane crash in Texas on December 31, 1985.
Twin sons Gunnar and Matthew Nelson recounted their lives at Mulholland Farm with their father and siblings in exclusive interviews for Errol Flynn Slept Here. Both look back on the years at Flynn's estate as sometimes dark and painful, but also as the place where they formed a strong bond with their famous father, and where the Platinum-selling rock band Nelson got its start.
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