‘The Brady Bunch’: Maureen McCormick Wishes Robert Reed a ‘Happy Heavenly Birthday’

by Jennifer Shea
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“The Brady Bunch” star Maureen McCormick still thinks of Robert Reed, even 29 years after the “Brady Bunch” star’s passing. And to prove it, she wished him a happy birthday today on Twitter.

“Happy Heavenly Birthday to one of my biggest crushes ever!” McCormick tweeted about her co-star. “Love you Bob.”

‘The Brady Bunch’ Star Died Young

Reed passed away on May 12, 1992 in Pasadena, California. He was 59. The actor, a closeted gay man, had colon cancer and AIDS, according to Biography.com.

“He was an unhappy person,” his co-star Florence Henderson once 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 left behind a daughter, Karen Baldwin, from his brief marriage in the 1950s.

The “Brady Bunch” star, a trained Shakespearean actor, never felt at home on “The Brady Bunch,” where he once said “the scripts aren’t very good” and where the role of Mike Brady, a simple but devoted family man, seemed a far cry from the more complex characters of his Broadway days.

While Reed Clashed With Show’s Creator, He Was a Role Model to His Young Co-Stars

Reed reportedly grew more unhappy as “The Brady Bunch” progressed. In fact, “The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch” author Kimberly Potts told the New York Post that he began to spend his lunch breaks drinking and would return to the set inebriated. Then he would pitch a fit over lines in the script that rang false to him.

Reed himself told the Associated Press in 1983 that he argued frequently with “Brady Bunch” creator Sherwood Schwartz. Reed felt that Schwartz wrote too many “just gag lines.”

“That would have been what ‘The Brady Bunch’ would have been if I hadn’t protested,” he said then.  

Fortunately, by the time Reed returned from his lunch break, his young co-stars were usually gone for the day. And Reed soberly tried to be a surrogate father figure to the six kids he worked with, attempting to school them on highbrow culture and new technologies.

“He took his responsibility as the TV dad seriously,” Potts said. “He famously took the kids on a trip to England because he wanted to expose them to culture and Shakespeare. He also famously gave them Super 8 cameras for Christmas. He wanted to help them the same as a father would.”

Reed would probably be pleased to know that the “Brady Bunch” kids have all stuck together even into adulthood, appearing on specials such as HGTV’s “A Very Brady Renovation.” And while none of them have gone on to become Shakespearean actors, their prayers and well-wishes keep his memory alive even today.

Outsider.com