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Also in 1989, Reed reteamed with his Brady Bunch co-star Henderson in a guest-starring role on the sitcom Free Spirit.Several years after his death, Reed's Brady Bunch co-stars – notably Barry Williams and Florence Henderson – publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation, and admitted that most of the cast and crew of The Brady Bunch knew, but they never discussed it with him and vice versa. [Had it ever come out that Robert Reed was gay] it probably would have caused the demise of the show.He also worked as a radio announcer at local radio stations and wrote and produced radio dramas. Also starring on The Brady Bunch was actress Florence Henderson, who played the role of Mike's wife Carol Brady after her best friend Shirley Jones turned down the role in favor of The Partridge Family.This led to guest roles on Men into Space and Lawman, as well as his first credited film appearance in Bloodlust! In 1961, Reed landed his first television starring role in The Defenders alongside fellow Studebaker Theater performer E. Marshall, with the two playing a father-and-son team of defense attorneys. Appearing in the Neil Simon play Barefoot in the Park led to two new contracts at Paramount Pictures and ABC, both in 1968. From the very beginning of the sitcom's debut in September 1969, Reed was unhappy with his role as Mike Brady.
He played Kenneth Preston on the legal drama The Defenders from 1961 to 1965 alongside E. Marshall, and is best known for his role as the father Mike Brady, opposite Florence Henderson's role as Carol Brady, on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch, which aired from 1969 to 1974.He would later appear in the television film The Brady Girls Get Married (1981) and the television film A Very Brady Christmas (1988).In 1989, he guest-starred as Mike Brady in "A Very Brady Episode" of the NBC sitcom Day by Day.He later reprised his role of Mike Brady on several of the 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.