Robert Reed Refused to be in ‘The Brady Bunch’ Finale, Here’s Why

THE BRADY BUNCH, Barry Williams, 'Peter & The Wolf', (Season 5, aired October 12, 1973), 1969-74 plus Robert Reed
Everett Collection

50 years ago today, the beloved series about two lovely and busy families coming together saw its final episode March 8, 1974, marking the end of its five-year run. Though the show still managed to tie itself up nicely, one major component was missing from the finale: the family’s patriarch, Mike Brady, played by Robert Reed, who was nowhere to be seen for the entirety of the episode.

American actors Robert Reed (1932 - 1992, left) as Mike Brady, and Barry Williams as Greg Brady in the US TV sitcom 'The Brady Bunch', circa 1974.

Archive Photos/Getty Images

Titled “The Hair-Brained Scheme,” the series’ final episode follows Bobby (Mike Lookinland) as he tries to sell hair tonic to make some extra money. When he tries out the product on his brother Greg (Barry Williams), the product turns his curls a disastrous shade of orange. To make matters worse, Greg, as the eldest, has his upcoming high school graduation. But in classic Brady fashion, the family is able to remedy his mess of hair just in time for the big day. One issue they can’t quite fix however is failing to adequately explain their father’s absence. In a throwaway line nearing the end of the episode, the mother Carol (Florence Henderson) explains that Mike was simply out of town as to why he wasn’t there for his eldest son’s big day.

Greg Brady's hair turns orange


Ironically, Reed was there, just not in front of the camera. Known for often disagreeing with writers and producers on set, Reed, unsurprisingly, took issue with the contents of the episode, thinking it was ridiculous and unbelievable. Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of The Brady Bunch, recalled that the morning of the shoot, Reed declared: “I won’t do the show,” though he stayed on set to grumble about it.

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 22: THE BRADY BUNCH - Robert Reed and Florence Henderson gallery - Season Four - 9/22/72, Robert Reed (Mike), Florence Henderson (Carol) ,

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

In William’s autobiography “Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg,” the actor reveals that it was solely Reed’s decision to not appear in the episode on the grounds of it not being good quality television. In producer Lloyd Schwartz’s bookBrady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch,” the producer specifically cites that Robert’s biggest gripe was that “hair tonic can’t do that to hair.”

LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 10: Robert Reed as Mike Brady in the Brady Brunch episode, "Getting Davy Jones." Original air date, December 10, 1971. Season 3, episode 12. Image is a screen grab.

CBS via Getty Images

Though he’s not wrong, the grumbling actor ultimately cost himself a seat in the historic episode. Unbeknownst to the cast and crew at the time, the series was canceled shortly after, having crossed the minimum threshold for number of episodes for larger distribution. All that being said, the group of actors nonetheless did in fact form a family despite its unexpected endFans of the show can read more things they didn’t know about the blended family here.

1974 (50 Years Ago)
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1974 (50 Years Ago)

January 2024

In this time capsule issue of ReMIND Magazine we look back 50 years ago to 1974!

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