The Philadelphia Daily News described him as a "Complex Performer". At first glance one might think this description should read "Complete Performer", but upon closer examination, the former proves to be the perfect description.
Nelson is not a television or recording artist who "fills in" at nightclubs between TV and recording jobs. He is among the few entertainers who CHOSE a career as a night club performer and though he "fills in" with TV and movie appearances, he is truly in his element before a live audience. We forget how powerful and exciting a night club act can be until we watch one of the few who specializes in that field and who has mastered his craft. Nelson reminds us of this.
Born in Brazil, Nelson is the son of an Italian immigrant who made his way to South America where he worked as a policeman for several years before entering into the practice of law. Nelson is quick to admit that his father was a major role model in his life. It was because of his influence that he amassed one of the largest collection of police paraphernalia in existence. His collection includes hundreds of badges, thousands of patches, pistols, hats and uniforms, including a complete bobby uniform from England.
Nelson speaks a number of languages, but when he came to the United States, he had no working knowledge of English. Still, five months after arriving, he was drafted into the Army, where, as he puts it, he got a crash course in basic English and an advanced course in profanity. With these meager tools he began his singing carrier just outside of Detroit when a tavern owner who mistook him for a troublemaker tried to avoid problems by asking him to sing. He sang there, at the old Mill Tavern, for ten months and left knowing what his life’s work was to be.
His interest in Gun Twirling began at a time when he was involved in numerous charity appearances and had constant police escorts, while in Biloxi, Mississippi, he was made an honorary deputy sheriff and was presented with a badge and an air gun. From this beginning came the comic gun slinger who antics, with the real Ruger pistols which he now uses, became the signature of his act. Though definitely an American act, Nelson has appeared on every continent on the globe. He is recognized as a truly world class performer, reminiscent of America’s great cabaret acts and grand show rooms. He has a variety of television and movie credits to his name, including numerous TV appearances in Brazil, England, Australia, and of course, the USA.
Nelson dedication to his audiences seems to be duplicated in his charity work, several years ago he learned that three long time friends had relatives who were mentally retarded. Having been unaware of this fact despite years of friendship with these people, he felt compelled to help raise money for the mentally retarded. His way of doing it was to gather other celebrities, politicians, and community leaders to shines shoes for donations.