TV Dad Robert Reed Instilled Fierce Pro-Gay Values In The Brady Kids

Brady-Bunch-cast-members-the-brady-bunch-10937324-720-480Actor Christopher Knight, perhaps best known for his role as Peter Brady on early ’70s sitcom The Brady Bunch, has likened the gay actor who played his TV dad to a real-life father in a recent interview with HuffPo Live.

Speaking of Robert Reed, the Emmy-nominated actor who played Brady patriarch Mike Brady from 1969-1974, Knight says he played a crucial role in forming his progressive views on LGBT rights and gay men in general. Reed “was as good or better a father figure than my own dad,” he says, adding that Reed remains “not just an icon” but his own “personal hero.”

“I learned very early that if that was what gay was, it has no measure in the ability of somebody to be a fine representation of a good human being,” said Knight.

Reed was out to his family, close friends and coworkers, though he never officially came out in the public eye over fear that it would damage his acting career. He died from colon cancer in 1992 at the age of 59, though his doctor listed his HIV-positive status as a contributing factor to his death.

Check out the rest of Knight’s interview below.

Side note: Did you know how seriously sexy young Mike Brady was? Check out a few screenshots of Robert Reed taken from a 1966 episode of Family Affair below the video.

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  • Stache99

    Wow. I didn’t realize he was such a hottie back in the day. He was hot as the Dad too.

    I remember meeting him which would’ve most likely been his last gig. It was a play called Death Trap. This would’ve been somewhere between 1990 and 1992.

    I was so nervous asking for his autograph. He asked me for my name and like an idiot I said my first and last. To this day I’ll never understand that because I’m around celebrities all the time. This was Mr Brady after all and I was part of the Brady Bunch generation. He was my dad too and I think that’s what it was.

    Up close he was so thin and frail looking. His hair was all grayed and curly. It was kind of shocking. Then he died and of coarse it made sense to me then.

  • Stache99

    Btw. I’ve seen documentaries on him and he did not appreciate being typecast as “Mr Brady”. Sorry guy but you’ll always be Mr Brady to allot of us.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    These photos of Padre Brady are so, so handsome!

  • SportGuy

    Mr. Brady was definitely a hot dad, lol. :-D

  • blackberry finn

    Never got a “gay vibe” from Reed, ever. These photos bring it out, though!

  • Zekester

    The first two years of the Brady Bunch Reed was SMOKIN’ hot. He was hot right up until the day he got that god-awful perm, which was evidently “the thing” in the 70’s.

  • Jonty Coppersmith

    The photo of young Mr. Reed reminds me a bit of Bradley Cooper.

  • buffnightwing

    I was gonna say Bradley Cooper also! Handsome man. Bet he was an awesome and hottie bottom! woof!

  • Kieran

    How ironic is it that generations of American kids have grown up seeing a gay man as the epitome of the American Dad? A shame we didn’t know he was gay when we watched this show as kids. In those days, if Robert Reed had “come out” as gay, it would have been a major scandal and he would have found himself replaced on the show. The younger generation should know that as bad as homophobia is today, it was ten times worse back then.

  • james_in_cambridge

    @Zekester: His show’s producers probably made him get that perm so he could seem like a cool dad and “with it”. You’re right though, it’s awful. He’s so handsome without it.

  • Saint Law

    That bloke is so beautiful it’s almost painful to look at him.

  • Stache99

    @james_in_cambridge: Well, he must have liked it because he never went back. I don’t remember him without his perm up until his death.

  • rextrek

    well if they do a bipic of Robert Reed – Bradly Cooper could def. play him……sounds like a good idea

  • michael mellor

    Not only was Robert Reed handsome, he was also ahead of his time.

  • michael mellor

    There is a little of Bradley Cooper in Robert Reed’s face but Robert had far better bone structure. They don’t make ’em like they used to.

  • LadyL

    Wow, I’ve never seen these pics of Robert Reed before; he is indeed handsome–and so happy-looking, too! These look to have been taken around the time of his work on… was it The Bold Ones? The Defenders? A bit before my time.

    I’m glad Christopher Knight thought so highly of his television dad and keeps such fond memories of him, but his remarks remind me of an interview his Brady sister Eve Plumb gave not too long ago, in which she also remembered Reed with great affection but also with sadness. In her telling Mr. Reed may have been out to a trusted few but was mostly deeply closeted and tortured by fears of discovery of his sexual orientation. And there was a television doc a couple of years back about the series, where Florence Henderson recalled Reed’s acute discomfort with the Mike-and-Carol kissing scenes… The impression I was left with was that Robert Reed was very a guarded and unhappy man, at least in the latter part of his career. I guess all the years of worry wore him down.

    But yeah, I watched the show too. Back in the day everybody I knew did. I had no idea about Robert Reed then; I just remember wishing I had a dad like Mike Brady. And I could never decide if I wanted to be Marcia Brady or date her!

  • JohnRobertRietz

    John, Robert, Mike, Mr. Brady… Thank You for EVERYTHING! <3 I was a latch key kid of an estranged father in the 80's, a gay youth in the 90's and thanks to you (and your television family everyday after school, and your true life story) I am truly honored that my friends thought your younger pics were actually me!=one of THE BEST compliments I've ever had- I could cry. Your kind of a hero to me now. You were very pretty and handsome= "Pransome" I always loved the Brady's and their values they represented, I always wanted to be that kind of father too. When I found out you were gay, it made me feel more hopeful about my situation- that I could possibly still have a beautiful lady and children in my life, but still be myself-gay. I feel that you are a party of me in some comforting way- it's quite a gift, and you should know that you made a difference in my life. You are a real hero in my eyes. -boy would I Love to meet the Brady's. They saved me from being a statistic. Love always, Matthew

  • JohnRobertRietz

    In addition: the fact that he was a gay man who lived his life in secret (painfully) and convinced America that he was in fact the epitome of a straight father figure whom also made quite a positive influence on his television family in real life while breaking all the negative gay stereotypes, is a true testament to the fact that he was an exceptional actor and human being. God he was a total DOLL too!

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