AKA John Robert Rietz, Jr.
Birthplace: Highland Park, IL
Location of death: Pasadena, CA
Cause of death: Cancer - Colon
Remains: Cremated, Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie, IL
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Gay
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Mike (dad) on The Brady Bunch
Robert Reed starred as a hotshot lawyer in The Defenders with E. G. Marshall, and on The Brady Bunch he played a man named Brady who was busy with three boys of his own. He also played John Travolta's father in the classic TV weepy The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, and he was one of private eye Mike Connors' contacts on the police force in Mannix.
Reed was trained in Shakespeare, and did his share of Broadway and regional theater, but TV work paid better. Still, he made himself a persistent pain to Sherwood Schwartz, The Brady Bunch's producer, nagging for years that the show should be more realistic, and growing frustrated when scripts called for a pie fight.
Reed rarely answered questions about his personal life, keeping his homosexuality a secret all his life. Some 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 grew up in Oklahoma, where his family raised cattle and turkeys. He played basketball in high school, but enjoyed the drama club more. He studied acting at Northwestern, and attempted to play the role of husband when he married a college classmate in 1957, and had a daughter. When Reed's daughter was in ninth grade, she appeared on one episode of The Brady Bunch as a girl at Marcia's slumber party, and became friends with Susan Olsen, but father and real-life daughter didn't become close until she was an adult.
By all accounts, though, Reed was a great influence on the kids who played his children on The Brady Bunch. He once took all six Brady kids on a vacation to New York and London aboard the QE2 cruise-liner. He also gave all his TV children Super 8 movie cameras -- the era's high-tech moviemaking toy. Mike Lookinland, who played Bobby Brady, remembers this as a turning point -- he grew up to become a camera operator.
Reed's eldest TV son, Barry Williams, helped make the arrangements for Reed's memorial service, and saw Reed the day before he died. "I got to tell him three things," he said. "that things were good in my life in part because of what I learned from him, that I appreciated our friendship, and that I loved him."
Reed directed one film, a 1979 tale of misfit toys at Christmas called Quincy's Quest.
Father: John Rietz (farmer)
Mother: Helen Rietz (farmer)
Wife: Marilyn Rosenberg (actress, m. 1957, div. 1959)
Daughter: Karen Baldwin (b. 1958)
High School: Central High School, Muskogee, OK
University: Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
University: Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London, England
Beta Theta Pi Fraternity
Risk Factors: AIDS
The Defenders Kenneth Preston (1961-65)
Mannix Lt. Adam Tobias (1968-75)
The Brady Bunch Mike Brady (1969-74)
Nurse Dr. Adam Rose (1980-81)
Search for Tomorrow Lloyd Kendall (#3, 1986)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Prime Target (27-Sep-1991)
A Very Brady Christmas (18-Dec-1988)
Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (1-Nov-1981)
The Brady Girls Get Married (6-Feb-1981)
Bud and Lou (15-Nov-1978)
SST: Death Flight (25-Feb-1977)
The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (12-Nov-1976)
Nightmare in Badham County (5-Nov-1976)
Rich Man, Poor Man (1-Feb-1976)
Assignment: Munich (30-Apr-1972)
The Maltese Bippy (18-Jun-1969) · Lt. Tim Crane
Star! (18-Jul-1968) · Charles Fraser
Hurry Sundown (6-Feb-1967)
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