Adam-12’s Kent McCord Named His Daughter After Ricky Nelson’s Wife
What significance lies in a name? Some first names simply have a pleasant sound and complement the last name well, while others serve as a way to pay tribute to a beloved individual. Many people are named after their ancestors, relatives, friends, or even famous personalities.
Although the name “Kristen McWhirter” may not immediately evoke memories of classic television, it holds a wealth of television trivia.
According to the official biography of Kent McCord, he was a high school football star who earned a scholarship to the University of Utah. While his football skills propelled him towards higher education, a more significant event related to sports took place in Kent McCord’s life. In 1961, McCord was invited to Hollywood to participate in a crucial touch football game.
On that fateful afternoon, Kent McCord played on a team led by Ricky Nelson, while the opposition was captained by the King of Rock & Roll himself, Elvis Presley.
For McCord, this was more than just a friendly game; it marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life. He got along so well with Ricky Nelson that the star offered him his first acting job. Over the next five years, Kent McCord appeared on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet a total of 44 times, portraying a character named “Kent,” who was Ricky Nelson’s character’s fraternity brother. He was credited using his birth name, “Kent McWhirter.”
McCord’s talent on the football field must have also impressed Elvis, as he acted in several of the King’s movies, including Viva Las Vegas, Kissin’ Cousins, Roustabout, Frankie and Johnny, and Girl Happy.
McCord’s rapport with Nelson and Presley quickly caught the attention of studios, and he soon found himself being sought after as an emerging star. Universal Studios signed him to a contract, leading to appearances in The Virginian, Run for Your Life, and ultimately, Dragnet 1967. His role on Dragnet ’67 drew the interest of actor/producer Jack Webb, who cast McCord in Adam-12.
According to a 1969 article in The Standard-Star of New Rochelle, NY, Kent and his wife Cynthia decided to honor their family friends by naming their daughter “Kristen,” after Ricky Nelson’s then-wife Kris.
Kristen McCoy made an appearance in the 1968 episode of Adam-12 titled “Operation Action.”