web analytics
- Advertisement -

The Teen Idol Who Saved His Twin Boys

Remembering Ricky Nelson: The Teen Idol Who Saved His Twin Boys

The teen idol of the 50s who saved his twin boys in the mysterious plane accident that led to his own death

Ricky Nelson, the beloved teen pop star of the 1950s, captured the hearts of countless admirers during his time in the spotlight. While many are familiar with the tragic circumstances surrounding his untimely death, few know about the split-second decision that ultimately saved the lives of his two young boys. Let’s delve into the life of Ricky Nelson and the fateful event that forever changed the lives of his family.


Born on May 8, 1940, in Teaneck, New Jersey, Ricky Nelson grew up in the limelight thanks to the hit sitcom “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” which was created by his parents, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. The show, a record-breaking success in the comedy genre, ran for an impressive sixteen years. Ricky and his older brother David even joined the cast at a young age, further cementing their family’s fame.

Ricky Nelson Family

Ricky’s journey through education was a bit unconventional. Despite attending Gardner Street Public School and later Hollywood High School, he had a strong aversion to formal education, much to the disappointment of his father. This strain in their relationship stemmed from Ricky’s blossoming career as a musician, which saw him earning a yearly income of around $100,000 even before reaching college age.

In 1957, at the age of 17, Ricky made his debut on his family’s show with the episode “Ricky, the Drummer.” He performed the song “I’m Walking,” which quickly rose to number 4 on Billboard’s Best Sellers list. Ricky’s popularity continued to soar as he frequently released chart-topping hits like “Garden Party,” “It’s Late,” “Fools Rush In,” and many more.

During the early 1960s, Ricky began dating Kristin Harmon, who also came from a Hollywood background. The couple tied the knot in April 1963 and went on to welcome four children: Tracy Kristine Nelson, Sam Hilliard Nelson, and twin boys Matthew Gray and Gunnar Eric Nelson.

As Ricky’s music career flourished, he embarked on numerous tours that allowed him to connect with his loyal fans. However, tragedy struck during one of these tours, leaving a void in the music industry and in the hearts of his loved ones.

Despite his success, Ricky had an intense fear of flying. In an effort to overcome his anxiety and continue performing for his fans, he sought therapy sessions. However, he still harbored a deep unease about traveling by plane.

On a planned trip to Dallas for a New Year’s performance, Ricky was scheduled to fly with his sons Matthew and Gunnar. Just moments before they were supposed to meet in Alabama and board the plane together, Ricky had a change of heart. He called his sons and made the difficult decision to ask them not to join him on the flight.

This split-second decision proved to be life-saving. Reports had surfaced about engine issues on the flight Ricky was originally supposed to be on. Without his sons by his side, Ricky boarded the ill-fated DC-3 in Alabama. Tragically, as the aircraft approached its destination, a fire broke out onboard. Ricky and the other passengers lost their lives in the blaze, but the skillful pilot managed to safely land the plane in Texas.

Even after thirty years, the cause of the fiery plane crash remains a mystery. Various rumors circulated at the time, some even speculating that Ricky was involved in illicit activities. However, his brother David vehemently denied these allegations. Ricky’s daughter Tracy later went on record to suggest that a mechanical malfunction, specifically related to the aircraft’s gasoline heater, could have been the cause.

Regardless of the cause, it is evident that Ricky Nelson’s intuition and foresight averted an even greater family tragedy. Today, his twin sons Matthew and Gunnar carry on their father’s legacy, with successful music careers of their own. In their own words, their journey is an ongoing labor of love and an open letter to their best friend, their dad.

Rest in peace, Ricky Nelson. Please share your thoughts on his life-saving revelation in the comments below.

Related Articles

Back to top button