Lee Jay Nelson biography: By Fran Schattenberg
Lee Jay Nelson represents the ideal combination in the entertainment world: literally a lifetime of involvement at all levels. Lee Jay is the son of the well known ventriloquist, Jimmy Nelson. His long and popular career in early television featured his puppets Danny O’Day and Farfel the Dog. For over 10 years their Nestle’s Quick Chocolate commercials were guest in millions of homes.
For Lee Jay, his childhood memories were sitting in the audience, “right up front” seeing show business first hand, as well as meeting all the greats. From early youth, he learned from his Dad what worked and what didn’t.
While still in high school, 16 year old Lee Jay began his singing career as a folk singer in the Village in New York City. His musical and performance ability would become a successful path for world wide recognition in the Air Force (after high school) when, he was a winner in the World Wide Air Force Talent Contest three years in a row.
After his Air Force service Lee Jay began his professional entertainment career. Starting as a front man/singer with the popular show group The Nello Masci IV, at the Devils Fork nightclub in the Gramacy Inn Hotel in Washington, D.C.
With more experience and popularity, Lee Jay then combined his singing with management when he founded his own show group, Lee Jay Nelson and Sound Unlimited. For five successful years, they performed throughout the United States and Europe.
After years of being on the road, Lee Jay looked for some roots and found them as a singer in a lounge group at the famous Host Farm Resort in Lancaster, PA. To Lee Jay’s versatility the Resort soon added another aspect: he became the Master of Ceremonies for the Host Farm Cabaret Theatre. While this gave Lee Jay added prominence, he also was able to re-meet and work with many performers whom he had known as a youngster and young man in New York when his father Jimmy Nelson was performing.
While still singing and being the M.C. at night, Lee Jay became the Host Farm Entertainment/Activities Director. One of the many innovations Lee Jay introduced was to bring national television for sporting events at the Resort. He became an announcer for Resort events for ABC Wide World of Sports, ESPN, and the USA Network.
While his entertainment and management career was booming, Lee Jay added another career high-note: acting. He has a credited TV role in the CBS movie “Playing for Time”, an Emmy award winner starring Vanessa Redgrave. He was a featured extra in the movie “Witness” starring Harrison Ford. He also had a supporting role in the independent film “The Whole Truth”.
The next turn in Lee Jay’s career was to focus on the business/management side. He opened a comedy Club in Lancaster called the Uptown Comedy Club, and ultimately became associated with Garvins Comedy Clubs in Washington D.C. The business needs of the many Clubs did not prevent Lee Jay from singing and acting in other venues.
The pace of this end of entertainment was not to Lee Jay’s liking, and he went back to his “roots,” the resort hotel business. He became the Entertainment/Activities Director for Pocmont Resort in the Pocono Mountains. While it was a reprieve of his previous resort hotel abilities singing, M.C.-ing shows, setting up activities the time frame and guest were now different. This would lead to another aspect of Lee Jay’s creative innovations.
Some of the Resort guests were senior groups. Activities Director Lee Jay came up with the idea of a program that would appeal to them. It was a combination of chair aerobics, lively music background and patter that would be low stress but a fun cardiovascular exercise. He worked with physicians and educators to develop his new exercise concept, “Loose as a Goose.” It was an instant hit, and would be the vehicle for a smooth transition to Lee Jay’s move to St. Petersburg Florida for a life-style of six months there and six months in Pennsylvania.
While this move was supposed to be somewhat of a slowdown, the “Loose as a Goose” exercise concept has also become an instant success in Florida, and one of the NEWEST NATIONAL CHAIR AEROBICS PROGRAMS, with Lee Jay leading sessions throughout St. Petersburg.
Today his singing and acting energies are still in high gear. And around his many “Loose as a Goose” sessions, Lee Jay fits in performing in Cabaret shows, and acting in comedies and dramas.
For Lee Jay, “this is the best of all my worlds”
Lee Jay Nelson contact by phone (727) 867 - 3061 cell (727) 742 - 1808