|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
Reed in 1971.
|Born||John Robert Rietz, Jr.
October 19, 1932
Highland Park, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||May 12, 1992
Pasadena, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Colon Cancer|
|Resting place||Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Education||Central High School|
|Alma mater||Northwestern University
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
|Years active||1957 –1992|
|Spouse(s)||Marilyn Rosenberger (m. 1954–59)|
Robert Reed (October 19, 1932 – May 12, 1992) was an American stage, film and television actor.
From 1961 to 1965, Reed portrayed the role of Kenneth Preston on the popular legal drama, The Defenders, alongside E. G. Marshall. He is best known as Mike Brady on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch, which aired from 1969 to 1974. He reprised the role of Mike Brady in later reunion programs. In 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. The following year, Reed earned a third Emmy nomination for his role in the miniseries Roots.
Reed was born John Robert Rietz, Jr. in the northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois. He was the only child of Helen (née Teaverbaugh) and John Robert Rietz, Sr., who were high school sweethearts and had married at 18. Reed attended the West Division School in Community Consolidated School District 62 until 1939. His father worked for the government, and his mother was a homemaker. Reed spent his later childhood years in Muskogee, Oklahoma, as well as Navasota, Texas. In Oklahoma his father, John Sr., worked as a turkey farmer, raising 200 turkeys annually.
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. Reed graduated from Muskogee Central in 1950, and enrolled at Northwestern University to study drama. He later studied for one term at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
During his years at Northwestern Reed appeared in several plays under the direction of Alvina Krause, a celebrated Northwestern drama coach. He also appeared in summer stock in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania. Reed performed in more than eight plays in college, all with leading roles, and mastered Shakespeare as well. He eventually adopted the stage name Robert Reed.
Reed made his first guest-starring appearance in an episode of Father Knows Best in 1959. This lead to guest roles on Men into Space and Lawman, as well as his first credited film appearance in Bloodlust!, and in 1961 the lead in a new series, The Defenders. Reed's co-star in the series was E.G. Marshall, one of the founding members of The Actors Studio in New York; it was around this time that Reed himself became a member of the Studio. The Defenders ran for four seasons, ending in 1965. Reed was in several different TV shows.
The remainder of the decade presenting primarily of a number of guest spots, including roles in Family Affair, Ironside, The Mod Squad, and Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre. He also appeared in the 1968 film Star!
The Brady Bunch
Appearing in the Neil Simon play, Barefoot in the Park led to two new contracts at Paramount Studios and ABC both in 1968. The minute that studio decided to turn the television version of Barefoot in the Park into a predominantly African-American show, they planned for Reed to star in something else. Called The Brady Bunch, the show featured a widowed man with three children from a previous marriage, marrying a divorcee, also with three children, from a previous marriage. According to Gilligan's Island creator, Sherwood Schwartz, he said about the show's plan for six children — meaning three boys and three girls — to create a well-blended family: “I read a small item in The Los Angeles Times. It said that that year, 29% of all marriages had a previous spouse with a child or children from that other marriage. It was a social phenomenon that was occurring, and I said, ‘I could take advantage of that.’”
Reed was the producers’ second choice for the role of Mike Brady, after Gene Hackman was rejected because he was too unfamiliar at the time. Also starring on The Brady Bunch was actress Florence Henderson, who played the role of Mike’s wife Carol Brady after best friend Shirley Jones turned down that role in favor of The Partridge Family. Also cast on the show was Ann B. Davis as maid Alice Nelson. Producers and directors found Reed terribly difficult to work with both on and off the set; the cast, however, got along well with him. Co-star Susan Olsen became friends with Reed’s real-life daughter, who made a guest appearance on the show.
Despite not being a Top 30 show during its five season run, it remained an audience favorite of the 1970s, until it was one of five series to be canceled in 1974 (along with Room 222, The F.B.I., The Partridge Family, and Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law). Since cancellation, the show has led a healthy afterlife in syndication.
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, 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 hand-written memoranda detailing why a certain character’s motivation did not make sense or why it was wrong to combine elements of farce and satire.
Reed was particularly appalled by the show’s series 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, Reed refused to appear in the episode altogether. Though Schwartz fired Reed from the series, the show ended up being cancelled shortly thereafter.
During the run of The Brady Bunch, Reed also had a recurring role as Lieutenant Adam Tobias on Mannix from 1967 to 1975.
After the end of The Brady Bunch in 1974, Reed acted on the stage and made 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. The episode also earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
Reed also appeared in television film The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976), the 1976 miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and the 1977 miniseries Roots. Reed was again nominated for an Emmy for his work in Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots. He also guest-starred on Wonder Woman, Hawaii Five-O, Charlie's Angels, Galactica 1980, and Vega$.
In 1981, Reed won the role of Dr. Adam Rose on the medical drama Nurse. Despite being critically acclaimed, the series was canceled the following year. In 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.
Despite his dislike of The Brady Bunch, Reed continued to appear in Brady Bunch spin-offs and sequels for the remainder of his career. In 1976, Reed reprised the role of Mike Brady in the variety show The Brady Bunch Hour, as well as the 1981 television film, The Brady Girls Get Married. He also appeared in the 1988 television film A Very Brady Christmas. That same year, he guest-starred as Mike Brady in "A Very Brady Episode" of the NBC sitcom Day by Day. In 1990, he starred in the drama series, The Bradys.
Reed made his last onscreen appearance in the April 1992 episode of Jake and the Fatman, "Ain’t Misbehavin’".
Reed was gay, but kept this fact private fearing it would damage his career. In July 1954, he married fellow Northwestern student Marilyn Rosenberger in Kenilworth, Illinois. The couple had one daughter, Karen Leigh Rietz, before divorcing in 1959.
After his death, Reed's Brady Bunch co-stars — most notably Barry Williams and Florence Henderson — acknowledged Reed's sexual orientation, and admitted that most of the cast and crew of the show were aware, but they did not discuss it with Reed. Barry Williams said, "Robert didn’t want to go there. I don’t think he talked about it with anyone. I just don’t think it was a discussion - period."
Reed died on May 12, 1992 at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California, after a six-month battle with colon cancer. Reed's doctor listed HIV as a "significant condition[s] contributing to death" on Reed's death certificate. He was cremated and his ashes are interred in Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie, Illinois next to his grandparents, Harvey and Elizabeth Rietz, and an uncle who died in childhood.
Reed was a close friend of actress Anne Haney. When Reed became ill with cancer, he allowed only his daughter and Haney to visit him. Haney later said of Reed, "He came from the old school, where people had a sense of decorum. He went the way he wanted to, without publicity."
|1957||Pal Joey||Boy Friend||Uncredited|
|1967||Hurry Sundown||Lars Finchley|
|1968||Journey Into Darkness||Hank Prentiss|
|1969||The Maltese Bippy||Lt. Tim Crane|
|1991||Prime Target||Agent Harrington|
|1959||Make Room for Daddy||Airline Pilot||Episode: "Terry Comes Home"|
|1959||Father Knows Best||Tom Cameron||Episode: "The Impostor"|
|1960||Men into Space||Russell Smith||Episode: "Earthbound"|
|1960||Bronco||Tom Fuller||Episode: "Volunteers from Aberdeen"|
|1960||Lawman||Jim Malone||Episode: "Left Hand of the Law"|
|1961||Tallahassee 7000||Episode: "Hostage"|
|1961-1965||The Defenders||Kenneth Preston||132 episodes|
|1965||Dr. Kildare||Judd Morrison||6 episodes|
|1965||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Lt. Chris Callahan||Episode: "The Admiral"|
|1966||Preview Tonight||Lieutenant John Leahy||Episode: "Somewhere in Italy... Company B!"|
|1966||Operation Razzle-Dazzle||Lieutenant John Leahy||Television movie|
|1966||Family Affair||Julian Hill||Episode: "Think Deep"|
|1966||My Husband Tom...and John||John||Unaired preview film for Paramount|
|1967||Li'l Abner||Senator Cod||Unsold pilot|
|1967||Hondo||Frank Davis||Episode: "Hondo and the Superstition Massacre"|
|1967||Ironside||Jerry Pearson||Episode: "Light at the End of the Journey"|
|1968||Journey to the Unknown||Hank Prentiss||Episode: "The New People"|
|1968-1975||Mannix||Lt. Adam Tobias||22 episodes|
|1969-1974||The Brady Bunch||Mike Brady||117 episodes|
|1969-1971||Love, American Style||Various roles||4 episodes|
|1971||The City||Sealy Graham||Television movie|
|1972||Assignment: Munich||Doug "Mitch" Mitchell||Television movie|
|1972||The Mod Squad||Jerry Silver||Episode: "The Connection"|
|1972||Haunts of the Very Rich||Reverend John Fellows||Television movie|
|1972||Mission: Impossible||Assistant D.A. Arthur Reynolds||Episode: "Hit"|
|1973||Snatched||Frank McCloy||Television movie|
|1973||Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law||Episode: "They've Got to Blame Somebody"|
|1973||Intertect||Blake Hollister||Television movie|
|1973||The Man Who Could Talk to Kids||Tom Lassiter||Television movie|
|1973||The World of Sid & Marty Krofft at the Hollywood Bowl||Audience member||Television special
|1974||Pray for the Wildcats||Paul McIlvain||Television movie|
|1974||Chase||Dr. Playter||Episode: "Remote Control"|
|1974||Harry O||Paul Virdon||Episode: "Accounts Balanced"|
|1975||The Secret Night Caller||Freddy Durant||Television movie|
|1975||Medical Center||Dr. Pat Caddison||Episode: "The Fourth Sex" (parts 1 and 2)|
|1975||McCloud||Jason Carter||Episode: "Fire!"|
|1976||The Streets of San Francisco||Dr. Arnold Stephen||Episode: "The Honorable Profession"|
|1976||Jigsaw John||Alan Bellamy||Episode: "Promise to Kill"|
|1976||Rich Man, Poor Man||Teddy Boylan||Miniseries|
|1976||Law and Order||Aaron Levine||Television movie|
|1976||Lanigan's Rabbi||Morton Galen||Pilot episode|
|1976||Nightmare in Badham County||Supt. Dancer||Television movie|
|1976||The Boy in the Plastic Bubble||Johnny Lubitch||Television movie|
|1976||Revenge for a Rape||Sheriff Paley||Television movie|
|1976||The New Adventures of Wonder Woman||The Falcon||Episode: "The Pluto File"|
|1976-1977||The Brady Bunch Hour||Mike Brady||9 episodes|
|1977||Roots||Dr. William Reynolds||Miniseries|
|1977||Kit Carson and the Mountain Men||Capt. John C. Fremont||Television movie|
|1977||The Wonderful World of Disney||Capt. John C. Fremont||2 episodes|
|1977||The Love Boat II||Stephen Palmer||Television movie|
|1977||SST: Death Flight||Captain Jim Walsh||Television movie|
|1977||Barnaby Jones||DeWitt Robinson||Episode: "Death Beat"|
|1977||The Hunted Lady||Dr. Arthur Sills||Television movie|
|1977-1986||The Love Boat||Various roles||6 episodes|
|1978||The Runaways||David McKay||4 episodes|
|1978||Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery||Jack Kimball||Television movie|
|1978||Bud and Lou||Alan Randall||Television movie|
|1978-1979||Vega$||Various roles||2 episodes|
|1978-1983||Fantasy Island||Leo Drake||2 episodes|
|1979||The Paper Chase||Professor Howard||Episode: "Once More with Feeling"|
|1979||Love's Savage Fury||Commander Marston||Television movie|
|1979||Hawaii Five-O||Various roles||2 episodes|
|1979||The Seekers||Daniel Clapper||Television movie|
|1980||Galactica 1980||Dr. Donald Mortinson||3 episodes|
|1980||Nurse||Dr. Kenneth Rose||Television movie|
|1980||Charlie's Angels||Glenn Staley||2 episodes|
|1981||The Brady Girls Get Married||Mike Brady||Television movie|
|1981||Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story||David Palmer||Television movie|
|1981-1982||Nurse||Dr. Adam Rose||25 episodes|
|1982||ABC Afterschool Specials||Henry Forbes||Episode: "Between Two Loves"|
|1983-1986||Hotel||Various roles||3 episodes|
|1984||The Mississippi||Tyler Marshall||Episode: "Abigail"|
|1984||Matt Houston||Bradley Denholm||Episode: "Stolen"|
|1984||Cover Up||Martin Dunbar||Episode: "A Subtle Seduction"|
|1985||Finder of Lost Loves||Tim Sanderson||Episode: "From the Heart"|
|1985||International Airport||Carl Roberts||Television movie|
|1985||Glitter||Episode: "Suddenly Innocent"|
|1986||Crazy like a Fox||Episode: "Just Another Fox in the Crowd"|
|1986||Search for Tomorrow||Lloyd Kendall||2 episodes|
|1987||Hunter||Judge Warren Unger||3 episodes|
|1987||Duet||Jim Phillips||2 episodes|
|1987-1992||Jake and the Fatman||Various roles||2 episodes|
|1988||The Law & Harry McGraw||Episode: "Beware the Ides of May"|
|1988||A Very Brady Christmas||Mike Brady||Television movie|
|1989||Day by Day||Mike Brady||Episode: "A Very Brady Episode"|
|1989||Free Spirit||Albert Stillman||Episode: "The New Secretary"|
|1990||The Bradys||Mike Brady||6 episodes|
|Year||Award||Category||Title of work|
|1976||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series||Medical Center (For episode "The Fourth Sex: Parts 1&2")|
|1976||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Rich Man, Poor Man|
|1977||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series||Roots (For part V)|
- The Missouri Ancestry of Robert Reed ("The Brady Bunch")
- "Robert Reed, Actor Who Gained Fame As Patriarch Of `The Brady Bunch'". seattletimes.nwsource.com. 1992-05-14. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Folkart, Burt A.: "Robert Reed, TV's 'Brady Bunch' Dad, Dies at 59". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. May 14, 1992. "."
- Wilson, Earl: "Robert Reed: He's Just an Okie, But He Reeks of Chic--Cattle and All". The St. Petersburg Times. September 18, 1963.
- Castañeda, Laura (2006). News and Sexuality: Media Portraits of Diversity. Sage Publications. p. 262. ISBN 1-412-90999-6.
- Rutledge, Leigh W. (2003). The Gay Book of Lists. Alyson Publishing. ISBN 1-55583-740-9.
- "Downtown: The Real 'Mike Brady'". abcnews.go.com. 1992-11-06. p. 1. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Gliatto, Tom (1992-05-25). "An Actor's Last Wish". People 37 (20).
- Gliatto, Tom (1992-06-01). "Here's the Story...". People 37 (21).
- "H.I.V. Contributed to Death Of Robert Reed, Doctor Says". nytimes.com. 1992-05-20. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Salyer, David (June 2001). "A Look Back at the History of AIDS in the U.S.". thebody.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Robert Reed at the Internet Movie Database
- Robert Reed at the Internet Broadway Database
- Robert Reed at Find a Grave