Robert Reed was an American character actor of stage, film and television.
Robert Reed was an American character actor of stage, film and television.

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Robert Reed

19/10/1932 - 12/05/1992 (Died age 59).

"Before I was reading science fiction, I read Hemingway. Farewell to Arms was my first adult novel that said not everything ends well. It was one of those times where reading has meant a great deal to me, in terms of my development - an insight came from that book.”

1932: John Robert Rietz Jr. was an American character actor of stage, film and television, who was born in the northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois, USA. Reed attended the West Division School in Community Consolidated School District 62 until 1939. In his youth, Reed joined the 4-H agricultural club and showed calves, but was more interested in acting and music. While attending Central High School in Muskogee, he participated in both activities. Reed also took to the stage, where he performed and sang. He also worked as a radio announcer at local radio stations and wrote and produced radio dramas.

1950: Reed graduated from Muskogee Central and enrolled at Northwestern University to study drama. During his years at Northwestern, Reed appeared in several plays under the direction of Alvina Krause, a celebrated Northwestern drama coach. Reed performed in more than eight plays in college, all with leading roles.

1954: He married Marilyn Rosenberg and together they had a daughter named Karen before divorcing in 1959.

1950's: He eventually adopted the stage name Robert Reed and moved to Los Angeles to further pursue his acting career.

1959: Reed made his first guest-starring appearance in an episode of Father Knows Best.

1961-1965: Reed landed his first television starring role in The Defenders alongside fellow Studebaker Theater performer E. G. Marshall, with the two playing a father-and-son team of defence attorneys.

1968: He also appeared in the 1968 film Star and in the Broadway production of Avanti. Appearing in the Neil Simon play Barefoot in the Park led to two new contracts at Paramount Pictures and ABC.

1969-1974: He is best known as the father Mike Brady, opposite Florence Henderson's Carol Brady, on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch. He reprised the role of Mike Brady in several later reunion programs. From the sitcom's debut, Reed was unhappy with his role as Mike Brady. He felt that acting in the often silly sitcom was beneath his serious Shakespearean training.

1976: He earned two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his guest-starring role in a two-part episode of Medical Center and for his work on the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man. Reed reprised the role of Mike Brady in the variety show The Brady Bunch Hour, the television film, The Brady Girls Get Married in 1981 and the television film A Very Brady Christmas in 1988.

1977: He guest-starred on Wonder Woman, Hawaii Five-O, Charlie's Angels, Galactica 1980 and Vega$. Reed earned a third Emmy nomination for his role in the miniseries Roots.

1981: Reed won the lead role of Dr. Adam Rose on the medical drama Nurse. Despite being critically acclaimed, the series was cancelled the following year.

1986: He played the role of Lloyd Kendall on the daytime soap opera Search for Tomorrow. He also made multiple appearances on Fantasy Island, Hunter, The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote.

1989: He guest-starred as Mike Brady in "A Very Brady Episode” of the NBC sitcom Day by Day. Also in that year, Reed reteamed with his Brady Bunch co-star Henderson in a guest-starring role on the sitcom Free Spirit.

HAPPY TIMES: Robert Reed and Florence Henderson in 1973.
HAPPY TIMES: Robert Reed and Florence Henderson in 1973.

1990: He reprised the role of Mike Brady for the final time in the drama series, The Bradys. The series was cancelled after six episodes.

1991: In November, Reed was diagnosed with colon cancer. When he became ill, he allowed only his daughter and his close friends actress Anne Haney and Josh Miller to visit him.

1992: Reed made his last onscreen appearance in the episode of Jake and the Fatman, "Ain't Misbehavin'. Shortly before his death, Reed appeared in the touring production of Love Letters, opposite Betsy Palmer and taught classes on Shakespeare at UCLA. He died from Colon cancer complications due to HIV. Reed was homosexual but kept this fact private, fearing it would damage his career.


Reed was the Bray Bunch producer's second choice for the role of Mike Brady after Gene Hackman was rejected, because he was too unfamiliar at the time. Actress Florence Henderson, who played the role of Mike's wife Carol Brady was chosen after her best friend Shirley Jones turned down the role in favour of The Partridge Family.  


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