Nancy Olson

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Nancy Olson
Sunset Boulevard 19.jpg
Olson in Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Born Nancy Ann Olson
(1928-07-14) July 14, 1928 (age 85)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1948–present
Spouse(s) Alan Jay Lerner (1950–1957; divorced; 2 children)
Alan W. Livingston (1962-2009; his death; 1 child)
Children Liza and Jennifer Lerner
Christopher Livingston (b. 1964)

Nancy Ann Olson[1] (born July 14, 1928) is an American actress. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, for her portrayal of Betty Schaefer in Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Since the early 1980s, Olson has been virtually retired from acting, although she has made a few rare returns, most recently in 2014.


Olson was signed to a film contract by Paramount Pictures in 1948 and, after a few supporting roles, producers began to consider her for more prominent parts. She was up for the role of Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 film Samson and Delilah, for which Olson later said she was not suited. When she was passed over in favor of Hedy Lamarr, Billy Wilder cast her for his upcoming project. In Sunset Boulevard (1950) she played Betty Schaefer, for which she garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her pairing with William Holden was considered a success and she appeared with him in three other films (Force of Arms, Union Station, and Submarine Command, all released in 1951), but none repeated their success in Sunset Boulevard. Other film credits include Big Jim McLain (1952), So Big (1953), Battle Cry (1955), and Dumbbells (2014).

Olson made several appearances in films for the Walt Disney studio. The Absent-Minded Professor and Son of Flubber paired her with Fred MacMurray and were popular with movie-goers. She also appeared alongside Hayley Mills in Pollyanna and Dean Jones in Snowball Express. Olson then moved to New York City where she appeared on Broadway.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, she did guest roles on television, and has been retired since the mid-1980s, although she made a brief, uncredited appearance in Flubber, the 1997 remake of The Absent-Minded Professor.

Personal life[edit]

Olson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of Evelyn (née Bergstrom) and Henry J. Olson, who was a physician.[1]

She became the third wife of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner in 1950 and had two daughters, Liza and Jennifer.[2] They divorced in 1957.

In 1962 she married longtime Capitol Records executive Alan W. Livingston, best known for creating "Bozo the Clown" and for signing Frank Sinatra and The Beatles, among other legends, with Capitol. He died in 2009; they had one son, Christopher.[2]


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