Ricky Nelson Dies

Eric Hilliard "Ricky" Nelson, later known as Rick Nelson (May 8, 1940 – December 31, 1985), was an American singer, musician and actor.

He placed 53 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1957 and 1973, including 19 top-ten hits. Nelson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

In 1985, Nelson joined a nostalgia rock tour of England. It was a major success, and it revived some interest in his work. He tried to duplicate that effect in the United States, and he began a tour of the South. Nelson and his band boarded a plane after a show at a small club in Guntersville, Alabama headed to the KLUV-FM New Year's Eve Sock-Hop concert in Dallas, Texas. The plane crashed northeast of Dallas in De Kalb, Texas killing Nelson and six others. Nelson was buried in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

The NTSB investigation stated that the crash was probably due to mechanical problems. The pilots attempted to land in a field after smoke filled the cabin. An examination indicated that a fire originated in the right hand side of the aft cabin area at or near the floor line. The passengers were killed when the aircraft struck obstacles during the forced landing; the pilots were able to escape through the cockpit windows and survived. The ignition and fuel sources of the fire could not be determined, although many believe that the most likely cause was a defective cabin heater. The pilot indicated that the crew tried to turn on the gasoline cabin heater repeatedly shortly before the fire occurred, but that it failed to respond. After the fire, the access panel to the heater compartment was found unlatched. The theory is supported by records that showed that DC-3s in general, and this aircraft in particular, had a previous history of problems with the cabin heaters.

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is an American sitcom, airing on ABC from October 3, 1952 to September 3, 1966, starring the real life Nelson family. The series starred Ozzie Nelson and his wife, singer Harriet Nelson (née Hilliard), and their young sons, David Nelson and Eric Nelson, better known as Ricky. Don DeFore had a recurring role as the Nelsons' friendly neighbor "Thorny". The series attracted large audiences, and although it was never a top-ten hit, it became synonymous with the 1950s ideal American family life. It is the longest-running "live-action"/non-animated sitcom in US TV history.