Robert Reed life and biography

Robert Reed picture, image, poster

Robert Reed biography

Date of birth : 1932-10-19
Date of death : 1992-05-12
Birthplace : Highland Park, Illinois
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2010-10-19
Credited as : Stage and television actor , role in the sitcom The Brady Bunch, starred on Wonder Woman

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Robert Reed was an American stage and television actor. He is most commonly remembered as portraying the father, Mike Brady, on the sitcom The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974. Reed was born John Robert Rietz, Jr., in Highland Park, Illinois. His parents were Helen (née Teaverbaugh) and John Robert Rietz, Sr. Reed spent much of his childhood in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and later studied Shakespeare in college. He was educated at Northwestern University, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi, and later transferred to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, in London.

Reed's Career

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. He also appeared in the 1968 film Star!

The Brady Bunch

From the beginning of The Brady Bunch Reed was unhappy with his role of Mike Brady. He felt that acting in the often silly sitcom was beneath his serious Shakespearean training. Despite his discontent with the show, by most accounts, he genuinely liked his co-stars and was a beloved father figure to the younger cast members. In his efforts to bring more realism to the show, Reed often locked horns with the show's creator and executive producer, Sherwood Schwartz. Reed presented Schwartz with frequent, usually hand-written memorandums detailing why a certain character's motivation did not make sense, and/or why it was wrong for a certain episode to combine elements of different styles, such as farce and satire.

Reed was particularly appalled by The Brady Bunch's fifth-season finale, "The Hair-Brained Scheme". He sent Schwartz a memo picking apart the episode, but Schwartz did not receive the memo promptly enough to change the show as Reed wanted. As a result, the disgusted Reed told Schwartz they'd have to do the episode without him, which they did, changing the shooting schedule and giving Mike Brady's lines to other characters. As a result Schwartz fired him from the series — which turned out not to make a difference because The Brady Bunch was canceled after that.

Reed reprised the role of Mike Brady in the variety show The Brady Bunch Hour, as well as The Brady Brides, several made-for-TV Brady movies, and another series that followed, The Bradys.

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

After The Brady Bunch

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 and SST: Death Flight. 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, Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots. He also guest starred on Wonder Woman, playing the Falcon. Other notable guest appearances include: Hawaii Five-O, Charlie's Angels, Galactica 1980, Vega$, 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. He also made multiple appeances in Hunter (U.S. TV series) and Jake and the Fatman.

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.

Personal life

Reed was briefly married to Marilyn Rosenberg (1957–1959). The couple had one daughter, Karen Rietz, who was born in 1958. Karen 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. Nonetheless, most of the Brady Bunch cast members knew of his sexual orientation, and expressed outrage at the media's exploitation of it after his death, most notably Barry Williams.

Reed was very close friends with actress Anne Haney, best known for her portrayal of social worker Mrs. Sellner in Mrs. Doubtfire. She was the one who informed his daughter of his homosexuality and his battle with AIDS. She often got his HIV medication for him under a pseudonym to protect his confidentiality.

Reed died in 1992, in Pasadena, California, from colon and bladder cancer; he was suffering from AIDS at the time. He was cremated and his ashes are interred in Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie, Illinois.

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