DEAD: Robert Reed

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Robert Reed (aged 59)
American actor, director

Robert Reed (born John Robert Rietz Jr.; October 19, 1932 – May 12, 1992) was an American actor. From 1961 to 1965, he portrayed Kenneth Preston on the legal drama The Defenders, alongside E. G. Marshall. He is best known as the father Mike Brady, opposite Florence Henderson’s Carol Brady, on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch, which aired from 1969 to 1974. He reprised the role of Mike Brady in several 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.

DEATH: In November 1991, Reed was diagnosed with colon cancer. When he became ill, he allowed only his daughter and his close friend actress Anne 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.” Weeks before his death, Reed called Henderson and asked her to inform the rest of The Brady Bunch cast that he was terminally ill. He died on May 12, 1992, at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California, at age 59.

Reed’s death was initially attributed solely to cancer, but details from his death certificate were made public revealing that Reed was HIV positive. It remains unknown how and when Reed contracted HIV because he kept his medical condition and private life a secret until the day he died, telling only a few close friends. While Reed did not have AIDS at the time of his death, his doctor listed his HIV-positive status as a “significant condition[s] that contributed to death” on the death certificate.

Robert Reed is buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois.

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