Sunday, October 19, 2008

Robert Reed

Robert Reed born 19 October 1932 (d. 1992)

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

Born John Robert Rietz, Jr. in Highland Park, Illinois, Reed spent much of his childhood in Oklahoma and later studied Shakespeare in college.

He first gained fame in the early 1960s starring in the television drama series The Defenders from 1961 to 1965 and later on the sitcom The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974. After winning the role of Mike Brady, he later became unhappy with his 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. 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 Variety 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. 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) 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. He appeared in a number of daytime soaps during the 1980s.

Like many actors of the time, Reed was secretive about his being gay. Reed was briefly married to Marilyn Rosenberg (1957-1959). The union produced one daughter, Caroline Reed, who was born 1958. Caroline had a small role in an episode of The Brady Bunch.

Accounts have suggested that he spent most of his life alone, cruising gay bars around Pasadena but having no real romantic relationships after his marriage ended in 1959.

Robert Reed contracted AIDS and died in 1992 at age 59 in Pasadena, California, from colorectal cancer. He is buried in Skokie, Illinois.

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