As one of television's most famous sons, David Nelson is well aware of his white-bread image honed during 14 seasons on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," a reputation that typecast him in "David Nelson" roles for years.
But Nelson gave up a chance to give straight-arrow Dave a slight edge when Ozzie Nelson, the show's director, was looking for some stage business for his oldest son to do in a scene.
"I was about 20 and because I smoked at the time, he said, 'Why don't you just go over and light a cigarette,' " recalls Nelson. "I said, 'You know, Dad, I don't think I could do that.' I tried, but it was so out of character for David Nelson--and yet I did smoke."
Although he and brother Rick were unique as television offspring--real-life sons playing themselves with their real-life parents each week--David Nelson has a lot in common with fellow former TV sons such as Jerry Mathers (The Beav on "Leave It to Beaver").