Alberta Nelson

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Alberta Nelson
Born Alberta Ann Nelson
August 14, 1937
Erie, Pennsylvania
Died April 29, 2006, age 68
Nationality American
Alma mater Andrews School for Girls
Spouse(s) Ryan MacDonald
Herbert Lester Gilman
Parent(s) Frank Alton Nelson
Katherine Storkel

Alberta Nelson (August 14, 1937 – April 29, 2006) was an American television and film actress. After several dramatic parts in television in the early 1960s, she made five guest appearances on The Andy Griffith Show.[citation needed]

Early years[edit]

Alberta Ann Nelson was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, to Frank Alton Nelson (1909–1959) and Katherine Storkel (1900–1982). Her only sibling was a half-sister, Irene Stephens McAleer (1919–1994). After graduating from the Andrews School for Girls in Willoughby, Ohio, in 1955, she briefly attended St. John's Hospital School of Nursing in Cleveland, Ohio. In the late 1950s, she moved to New York City, where she modeled.


Nelson ventured into acting with the Erie Playhouse in Erie, Pennsylvania, and eventually played the lead in a production of The Seven Year Itch.[1] She went on to appear in Broadway plays including Once There Was a Russian,[2] The Wall, and The Gang's All Here.[1]

Nelson appeared in seven movies in the 1960s as one of Eric Von Zipper's "mice" in the American International Beach Party series. She is the only person who appeared in all seven Beach Party movies, including Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini. Nelson played the leather clad "rat pack" biker chick "Puss" (sometimes called by other names), one of the comic villains who dogged the steps of the lead characters played by Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon.[citation needed]

After her successful girl-next-door stint as Flora on The Andy Griffith Show and her comedic career as biker girl Puss, Nelson starred in 1970s The Wild Scene as Dr. Virginia Grant, a female psychiatrist who talks graphically about her tawdriest cases. This and a 1970 appearance on Love, American Style would be Nelson's last credited roles.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Nelson married Ryan MacDonald (Machunas) around 1959 in New York City. Their son Adam was born in NYC around 1960 but died of SIDS at two months of age. She had no other children with MacDonald. Ryan and Alberta divorced around 1962 and she moved to California where she pursued an acting career. She remarried, to Herbert Lester Gilman (b. November 19, 1922), on February 14, 1971. She and Gilman had three children.[1]


Nelson fought cancer of the jaw/throat for several years, dying on April 29, 2006, at age 68, in Willoughby Hills, Ohio.[note 1][3] She was buried next to her mother and father at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Erie, Pennsylvania on May 2, 2006. Herbert Gilman died on June 29, 2007. He was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery on July 1, 2007.[4]

Movie filmography[edit]


  1. ^ The book Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2006: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture says that she died in Pennsylvania.


  1. ^ a b c Lisanti, Tom (2007). Glamour Girls of Sixties Hollywood: Seventy-Five Profiles. McFarland. p. 156. ISBN 9781476612416. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "("Alberta Nelson" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Archived from the original on 14 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  3. ^ Lentz, Harris M. III (2007). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2006: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. p. 261. ISBN 9780786429332. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "Alberta Nelson Obituary". Erie Times-News. Erie, PA. May 2, 2006. 

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