Adam-12's Kent McCord named his daughter after Ricky Nelson's wife

Elvis, football and fate came together to change McCord's life.

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What's in a name? Some first names are just phonetically pleasing and sound great paired with the last name. Other times, names are a way to honor a loved one. Lots of us are named after our elders; people name their children after relatives, friends, and even celebrities.

While the name "Kristen McWhirter" might not immediately conjure up classic TV, it's a television trivia trove.

According to the official Kent McCord biography, Kent was a high school football star and accepted a scholarship to the University of Utah. As his football skills propelled him toward higher education, a more significant sport-related development occurred in Kent McCord's life. In 1961, McCord was asked to come to Hollywood to participate in the most important touch football game of his life.

On that fateful afternoon, Kent McCord played on a team captained by Ricky Nelson. The King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley, led the opposition.

For McCord, it wasn't just a friendly game. It was the beginning of his new life. McCord got along so well with Ricky Nelson that the star gave McCord his first acting job. Kent McCord would appear on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet a total of 44 times over the next five years. McCord played a character named "Kent," who was Ricky Nelson's character's fraternity brother. McCord was credited using his birth name, "Kent McWhirter."

His gridiron grit must've also impressed Elvis, as McCord acted in The King's movies Viva Las Vegas, Kissin' Cousins, Roustabout, Frankie and Johnny, and Girl Happy.

Kent McCord didn't just make a great impression with Nelson and Presley. Pretty soon, studios were taking an interest in the burgeoning star. Universal Studios signed McCord to a contract that led to appearances in The Virginian, Run for Your Life, and eventually, Dragnet 1967. His time on Dragnet '67 caught the attention of actor/producer Jack Webb, who cast McCord in Adam-12.

According to a 1969 article in New Rochelle, NY's The Standard-Star, Kent and his wife Cynthia decided to honor their family friends by naming their daughter "Kristen," after Nelson's then-wife Kris.

Kristen McCoy appeared in the 1968 Adam-12 episode "Operation Action."

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34 Comments

Vanity 10 months ago
I don’t recall seeing Kent in any of those elvis movies. In fact, I was specifically looking for him in Roustabout but I didn’t see him.
MichaelGreene 11 months ago
Kent McCord first came to Jack Webb's casting attention when Webb was making the 1966 Dragnet movie-McCord was cast as a Hotel check-in clerk. In that pilot for the revival of the Dragnet series, Webb had quite a few of his old castmates from the first series(Vic Perrin, Virginia Gregg, Art Balinger, Sam Phillips, Harry Bartel, Herb Ellis, and Eddie Firestone) appeared. The only missing members were Peggy Webber Ralph Moody, and, of course, Ben Alexander. Alexander was committed to Felony Squad, but Webber and Moody would appear in episodes in the subsequent series. McCord would also appear, one as an officer whose name I don't know offhand, but his other appearances were as Officer Jim Reed...one of those times was in an Adam-12/Dragnet crossover, where Friday was investigating a report of police misconduct, and Officers Malloy and Reed were called in to testify. As many of us know, McCord was to be Webb's partner in a proposed revival of the Dragnet series in 1982...it was uncertain if McCord was to revive the Jim Reed character, possibly as a plainclothes officer(the last episodes of Adam-12 had Reed studying for the Detective's exam...the series was cancelled before that story line was resolved) or as another character.
BlueRabbit20 11 months ago
Have to have my weekly dose of Adam-12!!! LOVE IT !!!
WGH 11 months ago
Would have been nice to see a photo of Kristen in that Adam-12 episode. Maybe when you publish this one next year guys? Just a thought.

Kent comes across on screen like a super nice guy. You can't fake it.
Deleted 11 months ago
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Tampammm 11 months ago
I'd like Ozzie and Harriet too!

The good news is you can stream almost all the episodes online on services like Pluto and Tubi.
Deleted 11 months ago
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MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
I believe that was Kristin’s sister Kelly.
11 months ago
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Runeshaper 11 months ago
Wow! That is a GREAT story! Thanks for sharing, MeTV. I'm named after my father, who was named after his father. Both GREAT men (-:
Mblack Runeshaper 11 months ago
Legally, I have the first name as my father, though I've never used it. It's also the name of my maternal grandfather.

But, my great grandfather on my father's side had the same name. It then gets complicated since it's my great, great grandmother's brother's name
Runeshaper Mblack 11 months ago
That's AWESOME!
WGH Runeshaper 11 months ago
They used the name Runeshaper in 3 generations? Wow!

LOL
LoveMETV22 11 months ago
How interesting it would have been to be an observer @ the football game Kent McCord participated in back in 1961. Nice article and the extra links were interesting as well.
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