Nelson McDowell (August 14, 1870 – November 3, 1947) was an American actor. He appeared in 176 films between 1917 and 1945. McDowell was born in Greenville, Missouri. His parents were N. B. McDowell and Anne Hampton. He attended Leadville (Colorado) High School and Normal College in Freemont, Nebraska, before earning A.B. and D.D.S. degrees from Northwestern University in Chicago. Prior to embarking on a theatrical career, McDowell had a career in dentistry. In 1901, he was appointed professor of orthodontics at the University of Illinois.In 1902, McDowell acted on stage in Chicago and in Lincoln, Nebraska. His film debut came in 1910 with Biograph.McDowell died in Hollywood, California after he shot himself.