Exec Anne Roberts Nelson Dies
64 Years with CBS
64 Years with CBS
Anne Roberts Nelson, who spent more than 60 years at CBS, died Saturday, June 20, 2009. Nelson was a longtime business affairs executive who worked on contracts for classic shows such as I Love Lucy, All in the Family and The Young and the Restless. She was CBS's longest-tenured employee when she finally left the network earlier this year.
In 2005, CBS devoted an entire floor of its Television City building to Nelson.
Nelson had the distinction of being interviewed by the Academy of Television Arts & Science Foundation’s Archive of American Television. In her Archive interview, conducted on July 25, 1999, she discussed the many shows and talents that she came in touch with in her long association with the network. After many years of title changes and promotions throughout her tenure at CBS, she was named Vice President of the CBS Television Business Affairs Department in 1998.
Upon her passing, CBS released the following obituary:
Devoted CBS Business Affairs executive Anne Roberts Nelson died Saturday, June 20, 2009 at her beloved Baldwin Hills home from natural causes.
The proud South Pasadena native and third generation Californian earned her B.A. in Journalism from UC Berkeley in 1944.
In 2009, with 64 years under her belt, Anne became the longest tenured employee of CBS. Her illustrious career spanned radio, the advent of television and new media. As Anne was fond of telling, her journey with CBS began as a two week temp job in 1945 that lasted until January 2009. She enjoyed many positions within CBS, ultimately serving as Vice President of Business Affairs, CBS Entertainment.
During her tenure, she negotiated landmark contracts for I Love Lucy, All in the Family, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, The Red Skelton Show, Perry Mason, The Young and the Restless and many others. Through her business dealings Anne forged relationships with some of her closest friends and confidantes, including Robert Conrad, Stan Freberg, Gail Patrick Jackson, Norman Lear, Art Linkletter, Donna Mills, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Red Skelton and Jane Withers, to name a few.
Anne simultaneously managed to have both a fulfilling personal life and successful career. As an active member of Crenshaw Neighbors Anne spearheaded the founding of the Jim Gilliam Park. In the 1960s, she aided in the successful integration of the Baldwin Hills neighborhood. Professionally, she was a founding member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, a long standing board member of the American Film Institute Associates and American Women for International Understanding. In the era of the ‘Old Boy’s Club,’ Anne was one of the first female radio engineers and one of the first female show business executives.
Nelson’s status as an entertainment industry icon was recognized first in 2003 by author Mollie Gregory in her book “Women Who Run the Show…” In 2006, the UC San Diego Rady School of Management honored Anne with the inaugural Pinnacle of Excellence Award for Business Leadership.
An entire floor at CBS’s Television City, “The Anne Nelson Mezzanine,” was dedicated in her honor in March of 2005.
Her husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, Jr., was a popular bandleader and musician of the 1930s and 40’s, as well as a respected advertising executive. He died in 1975. Together they had three children who survive Nelson: Gaye Nelson Gallavan, and twins Amy Nelson Frelinger and Harmon Oscar Nelson III.
Among her other survivors are granddaughters Skye Stolnitz, Krista and Elyse Frelinger; Harmon’s son Connor Mahoney; younger sister Jeanne Gilette; sons-in-law David Frelinger and Rick Gallavan; his son Brendan and their families.