Robert Reed PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 October 2008 08:58

Robert Reed

Born: October 19, 1932, Highland Park, Illinois,

Died: May 12, 1992, Pasadena, California

Age: 59

Cause of death: Colon cancer.

Notable because:  Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch. Troubled personal life.

Robert Reed was an Emmy Award-nominated American stage and television actor.

Reed was born John Robert Rietz in Highland Park, Illinois, the son of Helen (née Teaverbaugh) and John R. Rietz. Reed spent much of his childhood in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and later studied Shakespeare in college. He was educated at Northwestern University and later transferred to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, UK.

He first gained fame in the early 1960s for starring along with E.G. Marshall in the television drama series The Defenders from 1961 to 1965, but gained his greatest fame on the sitcom The Brady Bunch, on which he starred from 1969 to 1974. After winning the role of Mike Brady, he later became unhappy with the part, feeling that acting in the often silly sitcom was beneath his serious Shakespearean training. Despite his discontent with the show as a whole, by most accounts he genuinely liked and was beloved as a father figure by his fellow cast members on The Brady Bunch. As a result of his unhappiness with the Brady Bunch’s content, Reed constantly argued with the show's creator, Sherwood Schwartz, and he would frequently present Schwartz with multi-page memos detailing why a character's motivation did not make sense, or why it was wrong for one episode to combine elements of different styles, such as farce and satire. One such argument even resulted in his being completely written out of the show's final episode. Reed was happy when the show ended, but he did return for The Brady Bunch Hour and the made-for-TV movies and series that reunited the Brady cast in the years to come.

During the run of The Brady Bunch, Reed also had a recurring role as Lt. Adam Tobias on the television drama Mannix from 1967 to 1975 for most of its run.

After the end of The Brady Bunch in 1974, Reed acted on the stage and made many guest star appearances on other television shows and television movies, including Pray for the Wildcats (1974). He won critical acclaim for his portrayal of a doctor who wants to undergo a sex-change operation in a two-part episode of Medical Center in 1975. Reed also appeared in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976), Rich Man, Poor Man (1976) and Roots (1977). He also guest starred on Wonder Woman (1976), playing the Falcon. Other notable guest appearances include: Hawaii 5-0 (1979), Charlie's Angels (1980), Vega$ (1981), and Murder, She Wrote for at least three appearances. Reed played the regular role of Dr. Adam Rose on the critically acclaimed (though short-lived) hospital drama Nurse during the 1981-1982 television season. In 1986, he played the role of Lloyd Kendall on the daytime soap opera Search for Tomorrow.

Robert Reed in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976).
Robert Reed in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976).

In 1971, Reed was the defendant in Anglia TV v. Reed, an important case in English contract common law. Reed lost the lawsuit for £2,750.

Reed was briefly married to Marilyn Rosenberg (1957-1959). The couple had one daughter, Caroline Reed, who was born 1958. Caroline had a small role in an episode of The Brady Bunch entitled, "The Slumber Caper." Her character's name was Karen and she is credited as "Carolyn Reed". This episode also reunited Reed with his co-star from The Defenders, E.G. Marshall.

Reed felt that his career required him to be secretive about his homosexuality. Several of his male partners have since stated that he threatened them after sex, because he wanted his homosexuality to remain hidden.

Robert Reed died in 1992 at age 59 in Pasadena, California, from colon cancer; he was suffering from HIV at the time although it did not contribute to his death. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie, Illinois.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2008 15:43

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