Photo of Jimmy Nelson record album
Photo copyright ©2019 David J Crone. All rights reserved.

Icon. Legacy. Gentleman.

Those are the three words that come to mind when I think of Jimmy Nelson.


Jimmy Nelson. Known to those of us in the art as, “The Dean of Ventriloquists”.

Jimmy Nelson passed away last night. He was 90.

Jimmy created the seminal ventriloquism educational record, “Instant Ventriloquism”. It was that record that taught so many this ancient artform. Among them, Jay Johnson, Jeff Dunham, and yours truly.

Of all of the many albums (and later CDs) in my collection, none were played as often nor listened to more attentively than that one.

I still have that record. It hangs on the wall in my office. Meeting Jimmy in person and having him sign that record was one of the stand-out moments in my life. To later reach the point where Jimmy knew me by name? Wow. Just wow.

Jimmy was a fixture at our annual conVENTion. He loved to encourage people in the study of ventriloquism. Being such an icon in our art, it was intimidating for many to approach him. Yet once you gathered the courage, you walked away feeling like you had just made a new friend for life – and you had. Jimmy had that way about him.

Jimmy was a true gentleman, an icon in our industry, and his legacy lives on.

God bless you, Jimmy. Thank you for all that you have given to the world. I am honored to have known you.