Those who know Harriet Nelson only for her two decades' worth of services as "America's Favorite TV Mom" on Ozzie and Harriet and Ozzie's Girls may be surprised to learn that she enjoyed a healthy career as a singer/actress long before network television was a commercial viability. Born Peggy Lou Snyder into a show business family, she chose the alliterative professional cognomen of Harriet Hilliard when she was hired as a vocalist by bandleader Ozzie Nelson. She was signed to an RKO Radio movie contract in 1936, and one year later married Nelson, though she remained Harriet Hilliard for the rest of her years in films. Most of her movie assignments were musicals and comedies, though she was capable of dramatic performances in such films as Confessions of Boston Blackie (1941) and The Falcon Strikes Back (1943). After several years of experience as a radio actress and singer on other people's programs (she briefly played the mother of "the mean widdle kid" on The Red Skelton Show), she and her husband Ozzie launched their own radio sitcom in 1944, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Featured on the series were the Nelson's two sons, David and Ricky Nelson (who were played by anonymous child actors until the boys insisted upon appearing as themselves). After a joint appearance in the 1952 Universal comedy Here Come the Nelsons, Ozzie, Harriet, David, and Ricky Nelson brought their successful radio program to television, where they remained until 1966. In 1973, Ozzie and Harriet, minus their offspring (Ricky Nelson was by now a successful recording artist, while David Nelson was a TV director) tried to make the magic happen again in the syndicated sitcom Ozzie's Girls, which proved to be a failure. After the death of her husband in 1975, Harriet Hilliard occasionally made appearances in such TV productions as Once an Eagle and Smash-Up on Interstate 5 (both 1976), and on more than one occasion made nostalgic guest appearances in her established TV series persona. In addition to her own sons, Harriet Nelson was the mother-in-law of actress Kristine Harmon (sister of actor Mark Harmon) and the grandmother of actress Tracy Nelson.