Anne Nelson dies; worked 64 years for CBS

Was the longest-tenured employee at the company

Anne Roberts Nelson, who turned a two-week temp job in 1945 into a 64-year career at CBS that made her the longest-tenured employee in company history, died Saturday of natural causes at her home in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. She was 86.

Nelson retired in January as vp business affairs at CBS Entertainment. She was one of the first female radio engineers and one of the first female show business execs; her career spanned radio, the advent of television and new media.

During her CBS tenure, the South Pasadena native negotiated landmark contracts for "I Love Lucy," "All in the Family," "Gunsmoke," "The Wild Wild West," "The Red Skelton Show," "Perry Mason," "The Young and the Restless" and many others. She forged relationships with some of her closest friends and confidantes, including Norman Lear, Red Skelton, Art Linkletter, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, "Perry Mason" producer Gail Patrick Jackson and actors Robert Conrad, Stan Freberg, Donna Mills and Jane Withers.

One floor at CBS Television City, called the Anne Nelson Mezzanine, was dedicated in her honor in March 2005.

Nelson, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in 1944, was a founding member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and a long-standing board member of the American Film Institute Associates.

Her husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson Jr., was a bandleader and musician of the 1930s and '40s. He died in 1975. Survivors include their three children: Gaye Nelson Gallavan and twins Amy Nelson Frelinger and Harmon Oscar Nelson III.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the American Film Institute Associates, the Heart of the Healer Foundation or the American Retina Foundation.

A celebration of Nelson's life will be held at CBS Television City at 5 p.m. on July 14. Nelson requested that no one wear black.