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Jessie Nelson is an American film producer, director, and writer.

Jessie Nelson
EducationUniversity of California Santa Cruz
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter
Spouse(s)Bryan Gordon
ChildrenMolly Gordon



Nelson began her career acting with the theater group Mabou Mines at the Public Theater in New York and she went on to perform in Shakespeare In The Park.

Nelson began her directing career with the award-winning short film To The Moon, Alice (1990), which she also wrote. The film starred Chris Cooper.[1][2] The film was part of a television program for Showtime titled The Showtime 30-Minute Movie.[3]

Her first feature film was Corrina, Corrina (1994) which she wrote, directed, and produced. It starred Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta. The film was suggested by her life.[4][5] She went on to write, direct, and produce I Am Sam (2001) starring Sean Penn.[6]

She received the first Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild for I Am Sam in 2002. [7]

Her most recent film is Love the Coopers (2015), starring a large ensemble cast, including Diane Keaton, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin.

She co-wrote Stepmom (1998) and The Story of Us (1999), and co-wrote and produced Because I Said So and produced Fred Claus based on a bedtime story she would tell her daughter. In 2014 she produced Danny Collins which starred Al Pacino and Annette Bening.

She wrote the Broadway musical adaptation of the movie Waitress with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, directed by Diane Paulus, which premiered on Broadway in April 2016.[8] She co-wrote and directs the musical Alice by Heart with Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, which opened Off-Broadway in February 2019.[9]

Nelson co-authored the 2011 children's book Labracadabra (Penguin, 2011, ISBN 0670012513) with Karen Leigh Hopkins.

Personal lifeEdit

She is married to director Bryan Gordon. They have a daughter, actress Molly Gordon.[10][11]

She is Jewish.[12]


Year Title Notes
1991 To the Moon, Alice Short, writer and director
1993 So I Married an Axe Murderer Actress
1994 Corrina, Corrina Writer, director, and producer
1998 Stepmom Writer
1999 The Story of Us Writer and producer
2001 I Am Sam Writer, director, and producer
2007 Because I Said So Writer and producer
Fred Claus Story and producer
2012 Hope Springs Producer
2015 Danny Collins Producer
Love the Coopers Writer, director, and producer


  1. ^ To The Moon Alice, retrieved May 20, 2019
  2. ^ James, Caryn. "Review/Film; 2 Views of the Homeless, One Aggressive, One Gentle" The New York Times, October 2, 1991
  3. ^ Tucker, Ken. The Showtime 30-Minute Movie, August 17, 1990
  4. ^ Dutka, Elaine. "The Making of 'Corrina' a Real Labor of Love : Movies: It took Jessie Nelson nine years to get the film made. Its story is taken from her life." Los Angeles Times, September 10, 1994
  5. ^ Corrina, Corrina, retrieved May 20, 2019
  6. ^ I Am Sam, retrieved May 20, 2019
  7. ^ Goodridge, Sam. " 'I Am Sam' producers win Stanley Kramer PGA prize", January 31, 2002
  8. ^ Waitress Playbill (vault), retrieved May 20, 2019
  9. ^ Rizzo, Frank. "Off Broadway Review: 'Alice by Heart'" Variety, February 26, 2019
  10. ^ Cormier, Ryan (October 30, 2009). "'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' Delaware-style". Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  11. ^ Nordstrom, Leigh (March 21, 2019). "Molly Gordon, Hollywood's New Comedic Darling". WWD. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  12. ^ "18 Things to Know About Molly Gordon". Alma. 20 May 2019.

External linksEdit