Nominated for Oscar. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations.
In 1959, Emmy Award -winning television director Ralph Nelson directed a 90-minute adaptation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet," with John Neville as the Dane, for the DuPont Show of the Month. Nelson himself adapted the 1601 Quatro (the "pirated" version considered corrupt) in order to make a coherent production of a play that uncut, runs four hours. The video-taped presentation essentially is a recording of the Old Vic Company's "Hamlet." The truncated version makes for an effective stage performance of "Hamlet," as Tony Richardson 's version with Nicol Williamson ten year later proves. As part of the broadcasting of the play, the CBS network published the TV script in a richly printed, illustrated volume that included a foreword by CBS President Louis G. Cowan. In the early days of commercial television, executives sought to balance their offerings of such drivel as "Queen for a Day" and "The $64,000 Question" with high culture. In that era, the so-called Golden Age of Television that was soon to expire, quality drama was featured on other omnibus showcases, including "Playhouse 90," the "Armstrong Circle Theatre," and the "United States Steel Hour." It couldn't last, as TV audiences eschewed Toscanini for Liberace and "Romeo & Juliet" for "I Love Lucy," but it proved an excellent training ground for directors. Nelson won his Emmy the previous year for directing a teleplay for "Playhouse 90" that arguably is the most famous product of the Golden Age of Television after Paddy Chayefsky 's "Marty" - Rod Serling 's "Requiem for a Heavyweight." Serling won one of his five Emmy award s for "Requiem," and other Nelson collaborators also would taste the sweetest fruits of success: both Sidney Poitier and Cliff Robertson won Best Actor Oscars in Ralph Nelson-directed motion pictures, "Lilies of the Field" (1963) and "Charlie" (1968), while E.G. Marshall won two Emmies appearing on "The Defenders," a television drama on which Nelson was one of the directors. Ralph Nelson was born into a Norwegian-American family in New York City in 1916. He became interested in the theater while attending high school, and won an oratory contest sponsored by the "New York Times" in 1932. His interest in the theater lead him to Broadway , where he worked as an errand boy before making it onto the stage. He made his Broadway debut on January 15, 1934 in "False Dreams, Farewell," and followed it up with parts in "Romeo & Juliet," "Othello," "Macbeth," and "The Taming of the Shrew" through 1940. His last Broadway play before the outbreak of World War II was "There Shall Be No Night," also in 1940, for which he also served as stage manager. During this pre-war period, Nelson worked with such legendary performers as Katharine Cornell, Leslie Howard , and the Lunts. In World War II, Nelson joined the Army as an air cadet. He was assigned to the stage company that put on Irving Berlin's "This Is the Army" on Broadway , and his award -winning one-act play "Mail Call" was part of a Broadway showcase "Army Play by Play" in 1943, while he was serving with the Air Corps. He eventually was promoted to captain while serving as a flight instructor, and on June 14, 1945, his first full-length play, "The Wind Is Ninety," was presented on Broadway while he was still attached to what was now called the Army Army Air Force. The play won an award from the National Theater Conference. Although Nelson appeared on Broadway again as an actor in the musicals "Cabaret" and "Follies," staged the comedy The Man in the Dog Suit" in 1958, and produced the musical "Look to the Lilies" in 1970, it was the visual media that beckoned. He entered the nascent television industry as an actor, but made the transition to director. As a director and producer, Nelson had a hand in as many as 1,000 TV presentations in the late 1940s, the 1950s, and the early '60s. He directed the first broadcast of "Playhouse 90" and was a regular contributor to the "General Electric Theater," the "Lux Theater," and the "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse," among other omnibus showcases in TV's Golden Age. He even directed an episode of Serling's "The Twilight Zone." When he moved from the little to the Big Screen, his films typically tackled topical subjects such as racism. His most successful and best-remembered film was 1963's "Lillies of the Field," for which he received an Oscar nomination as Best Picture as producer. Sidney Poitier became the first African American male and only second black person overall to win a competitive acting Oscar. His other major films that have endured were the 1964 Cary Grant comedy "Father Goose" and "Charly" (1968), for which Cliff Robertson won an Oscar. Eventually, Nelson returned to TV, finishing his directing career with "Christmas Lillies of the Field" (1979), a sequel to his 1963 hit. Ralph Nelson died in 1987. His son by Celeste Holm, Dr. Theodor "Ted" Holm Nelson' (born 1937) is a pioneer of information technology who inn-vented the term "hypertext" in 1965.