On This Day: ‘The Brady Bunch’ Actor Robert Reed Dies in 1992

by Matthew Wilson
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It’s been 29 years since actor Robert Reed passed away. The actor became a household name for starring in “The Brady Bunch.”

For many, Reed became one of television’s favorite dads. As Mike Brady, Reed was the quintessential father – patient, kind, and a little goofy at times. The role made him into a cultural icon and became one of his most famous works. Reed starred in five seasons of the show. But he later appeared in several spin-offs of the show as well.

Reed last played the role of Mike Brady in the short-lived sequel series “The Bradys” in 1990. The series ended up being critically-panned due to its darker storylines. But Reed brought his usual Brady charm to the proceedings.

On May 12, 1992, the actor passed away at just 59-years-old. According to Biography.com, officials initially attributed his death to colon cancer. But later, the public learned the actor passed from complications related to the AIDS virus.

Robert Reed and His Career

Outside of “The Brady Bunch,” Reed starred in numerous films and television shows. He appeared in the series “The Defenders” and later also starred in the detective show “Mannix” as well. Later in his career, Reed landed a critically acclaimed role in the mini-series “Roots” as well.

For all of his success, Robert Reed was often unhappy behind the scenes. For one, he often argued with “Brady Bunch” creator Sherwood Schwartz over the direction of the show. He believed that Schwartz focused more on broad comedy than family values. He disagreed with some of the sitcom gags that Schwartz employed in the show.

On a more personal level, Reed struggled with a double life. Reed was gay but kept his sexual orientation a secret. The actor had been married in the 1950s. But the marriage ended up being short-lived. Reed had one daughter from the marriage, Karen Baldwin.

“He was an unhappy person,” Florence Henderson said. “I think had Bob not been forced to live this double life, I think it would have dissipated a lot of that anger and frustration.

Reed didn’t want to reveal his sexual orientation because he believed it would hurt his career. At the time, the LGTBQ community wasn’t as accepted in Hollywood. In fact, many of his fans didn’t find out he was gay until after he passed away.

In his later years, Reed taught theater locally and maintained a close relationship with his on-screen family. They were “The Brady Bunch” until the very end.

Outsider.com