David Nelson appeared on the long-running sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in the 1950s and 1960s. During the run of the series, Nelson directed several episodes. After the series' end, Nelson continued acting, directing and producing. Nelson's last film appearance was in Cry-Baby (1990).
He had two marriages, two sons from first marriage and a daughter and two more sons from the later marriage. He attended Hollywood High and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity while attending the University of Southern California.