Craig Theodore Nelson (born April 4, 1944) is an American actor. He is best known for his Emmy-winning role as Hayden Fox on the TV series Coach, Deputy Ward Wilson in the 1980 film Stir Crazy, Steven Freeling in the 1982 film Poltergeist, the Warden in My Name is Earl, and Mr. Incredible in the 2004 film The Incredibles. He also starred in the TV series Parenthood.
Nelson was born in Spokane, Washington, the son of Vera Margaret (née Spindler), a dancer, and Armand Gilbert Nelson, a businessman. Nelson has a brown belt in karate. In high school, Nelson was the quarterback of the football team and also played baseball. He attended Central Washington University studying criminology as he wanted to work for the CIA. He dropped out and went to Yakima Valley Community College to study English literature, but he dropped out again. He spent a semester abroad studying communications at Northfielde Universität Herisau in Switzerland. He eventually received a drama scholarship to the University of Arizona. Nelson did summer stock theatre in Cripple Creek, Colorado. He then moved to the west, where he worked as a security guard at a soap factory in the day and took acting classes at night.
Nelson began his show business career as a comedian. He was an early member of The Groundlings comedy troupe. Nelson, Barry Levinson, and Rudy De Luca formed their own comedy team and were regular performers at The Comedy Store. In 1973, Nelson left the comedy world, explaining "the standup comedy life was pretty unfulfilling for me" and he settled in Mount Shasta where there was no electricity and no running water; "it was contentment, The Waltons, he said. Nelson had different jobs during that time including janitor, plumber, carpenter, surveyor, and teacher. He returned to acting five years later...
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