In 1992, Robert Reed died from complications related to AIDS. It was only in the aftermath of his death that fans of his acting learned that he was gay. Until then, he had kept his sexuality quiet largely out of fear for his career. It was on the set of the sitcom The Brady Bunch that Susan Olsen met Robert Reed. She played Cindy Brady in the series.
The 51-year-old took to Facebook to remember Reed and talk about the lessons she learned from the man. She also wanted to voice her support for marriage equality.
Olsen write as part of her letter that “As a child, I was BLESSED to have another father figure in my life. He did not replace my own beloved, Norwegian version of Jed Clampett, nor would he have wanted to. He simply harmonized with all of my family values and brought his own heart to our table.” She called him a “true king among men” and wnt on to note that “This tempetuous actor who bottle fed puppies when he wasn’t quarreling with the heads of networks shaped my heart as much as my biological parents did. So I really can honestly say, ‘My dad was gay.’”
She went on to say “I can also say that being gay killed him. Because it was so taboo, he could never make peace with himself. He never allowed himself to have a genuine love. He was forever taunted by his own disdain for the natural inclinations that he was BORN WITH.”
She also noted something very important about the life that Reed had been forced to live with due to the homophobia that was part of the world he lived in. She stated “Bob was a family man. Had he been allowed to form a relationship with another man, he would have been the best husband ever and might still be alive. But Bob could not be at peace with this because the people surrounding him shoved their own judgement down his throat and, sadly, he bought into it. He thought he was wrong.”
She stated as well “All I truly know is what works right here, right now. What works is love. What doesn’t work is judgement. If two people love each other enough to want their union consecrated by a mythological being — they are undoubtedly insane, but LET THEM HAVE AT IT!!”
Olsen hit the reality on the head, though. Acceptance means stability, and stability means better lives. Something that Reed was twenty years from getting to experience.