Ricky Nelson: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 2)

We already brought you part one of our list of 15 things you probably did not know about Ricky Nelson, and now we’re back with part two! Check out eight more fascinating facts about the singer and musician that you definitely (probably) did not know below. You might be surprised by what you find out!

Number Eight: He Was Too Rich for College. Well, sort of. Though Nelson’s father was pro-education – he graduated from Rutgers – Nelson did not see any point of attending. By the time he was ready for college, he had already accumulated so much wealth that he thought it was pointless.

Number Seven: He Did Not Always Have Access to His Wealth. Though Nelson was making $100,000 per year by the time he was 13 years old, his parents managed his wealth and only allowed him a $50 allowance – even when he was 18 years old. He once had to collect empty bottles so he could pay the entrance fee to a movie theater.

Number Six: He Was Motivated to Get a Record Deal Because of a Girl. One girl that Nelson was interested in was an Elvis fan, and Nelson told her that, just like Elvis, he was going to make a record. He was able to obtain a one-record deal with the help of his father with Verve Records.

Number Five: He Was in Several Movies. Though Nelson was a talented musician, he was also a talented actor! He appeared in Rio Bravo alongside John Wayne, and he also appeared in The Wackiest Ship in the Army alongside Jack Lemmon.

Number Four: He Changed His Name on His Birthday. On his 21st birthday, Nelson changed his recording name from “Ricky” Nelson to “Rick” Nelson. However, many people did not notice the subtle distinction and continued to call him Ricky.

Number Three: He Fell in Love With His TV Girlfriend. It’s true! Nelson fell for Marianne Gaba when he was 17 years old. Gaba played Nelson’s girlfriend on three episodes of Ozzie and Harriet.

Number Two: He Had a Financially Devastating Divorce. After Nelson married Kris Harmon, the two went through a public and nasty divorce. Nelson ended up having to pay more than $1 million to attorneys and accountants.

Number One: He Died From One of His Biggest Fears. Nelson died in a plane crash. Despite the fact that he was deathly afraid of flying, he refused to travel by bus, so he was forced to fly with his bandmates. He died in a plane crash on December 31, 1985.