Kenneth Nelson was an American actor.
Born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Nelson appeared in several television series in the late 1940s, Captain Video and His Video Rangers and The Aldrich Family among them. He was cast in his first Broadway show, Seventeen, a musical adaptation of the Booth Tarkington novel that opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on June 21, 1951 and ran 182 performances.
Nelson found little work for the remainder of the decade, but in 1960, he was cast in an off-Broadway show entitled The Fantasticks, which eventually became the world's longest-running musical with 17,162 performances. In 1962, he was hired to understudy Anthony Newley in Stop the World - I Want to Get Off when it transferred from the West End, eventually assuming the lead role when the star departed the show. From there, he went to another London import, Half a Sixpence, in 1965.
In 1968, Nelson accepted the lead in the controversial and groundbreaking off-Broadway production of The Boys in the Band, the first play to explore the milieu of gay life in New York City in a verbally frank manner. He and the rest of the cast went on to appear in the 1970 film version directed by William Friedkin.