logo
Getty Images
Getty Images

Look Back at Don Grady’s Full Life, Acting Career, and Music

Junie Sihlangu
Jul 11, 2020
03:00 P.M.
Share this pen
FacebookFacebookTwitterTwitterLinkedInLinkedInEmailEmail

In life, Don Grady was passionate about his music and acting careers. The star started learning how to play several musical instruments at a young age while acting on the side.

Advertisement

Actor Don Grady was welcomed into the world in San Diego, California, on June 8, 1944, as Don Louis Agrati. By the age of 14, the future star had groomed his musical abilities by learning how to play different instruments.

He could play the clarinet, drums, ukulele, and accordion. However, Don also had a love for acting that became public knowledge when he was chosen as a Mouseketeer on "The Mickey Mouse Club" in 1955.

"My Three Sons" Stanley Livingston, Barry Livingston, and Don Grady pose backstage at the TV Land Awards on March 2, 2003, in Hollywood, California | Photo: Robert Mora/Getty Images

"My Three Sons" Stanley Livingston, Barry Livingston, and Don Grady pose backstage at the TV Land Awards on March 2, 2003, in Hollywood, California | Photo: Robert Mora/Getty Images

Advertisement

DON'S ACTING CAREER

Don got to star on "The Mickey Mouse Club" alongside 23 other people when the show made its debut. However, his appearance on the show, starting at age 13, was a very brief one.

That acting, singing, and dancing role opened up doors for him to land what would become his most famous career role. He joined "My Three Sons" in 1960 as Robbie Douglas.

Advertisement

LANDING "MY THREE SONS" ROLE

Producers of the show initially chose someone else for the Robbie Douglas role but changed their minds suddenly. In 2007's biographical book, "Fred MacMurray," Don explained how he landed the role, stating:

"I was summoned to a hastily held audition at noon, and by 3 p.m., I was cast as the new Robbie.”

Don Brady on the set of "Love and the Co-ed Dorm" for a February 13, 1970, airdate | Photo: Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

Don Brady on the set of "Love and the Co-ed Dorm" for a February 13, 1970, airdate | Photo: Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

Advertisement

The actor featured as Robbie from 1960 to 1972 for over 300 episodes! Don's role in the fictional family shifted over the years, with him playing the middle son out of the three boys and the oldest one at some point.

Fred MacMurray was their father, Steve Douglas, and the other sons were played by Barry and Stanley Livingston, and William Demarest. Even though Don starred in other shows, he was always known as "Robbie."

Advertisement

BRANCHING INTO MUSIC

After "My Three Sons" ended, the "The Rifleman" star reverted back to his other love – music. He worked as a songwriter and composer, with one of his tracks used as the theme song for 1967's "The Phil Donahue Show."

He even joined a pop group named The Yellow Balloon, which released a self-titled hit song in 1967. Besides the "Donahue" show, he also made music for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "The Kid-a-Littles."

Advertisement

After his band disbanded, Don went solo and got to work as an arranger and conductor, writing songs like "Keep the Dream Alive" for Jazz to End Hunger. He released an original album in 2008.

The star even composed for Discovery Channel's documentary, "The Revolutionary War." He played the keyboard and was the composer and arranger for saxophonist Sam Riney's Top Ten crossover jazz albums.

Advertisement

MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN

On August 6, 1976, the actor married his first wife, Julie Boonisar, but they divorced a few years later in 1979, having had no children. He ended up finding love again in his second and last wife, Virginia Lewsader.

On December 31, 1985, they tied the knot and remained together until the "Wagon Train" actor's death at 68 on June 27, 2012. The couple had two children together, daughter Tessa Grady and son Joey Agrati.

Advertisement

TESSA FOLLOWS DAD'S MUSICAL FOOTSTEPS

After growing up in the industry, Don's daughter realized she was a natural at singing. Luckily, besides her father, Tessa had other family members to lend a helping hand; having also featured in the entertainment industry.

She [Mary Grady] died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.

Mary Grady, her grandmother, was a child talent agent, while Lani, Tessa's aunt, noticed the little girl's singing talents at a young age. The last thing heard about Tessa was that she was working on Broadway's "42nd Street."

Advertisement

DON'S DEATH

Tessa's musician and actor father died at his California Thousand Oaks home after a battle with cancer. Besides his two children, Don was survived by his mother, who died this year, and his sister, Marilou Reichel.

The star sadly lost one of his other sisters, Lani O'Grady, in 2001. His mother almost reached the age of 100 when she passed away earlier in the year, with her cause of death not publically revealed.

Advertisement
Advertisement

MARY GRADY PASSES ON

Sadly, Tessa also lost her grandmother on January 7, 2021, at age 96. According to Deadline, her death was announced by the owner of Osbrink Talent Agency and her friend, Cindy Osbrink.

Mary was one of Hollywood's premiere child talent agents, and her client list included some well-known child stars. She died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Related posts

Annette Funicello Was Unable to Eat, Drink & Talk during Her Last Years — Her Husband Never Gave up Hope

March 02, 2022

Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz's Kids Lived Different Lives after Parents Thrust Them into the Spotlight

February 13, 2022

Kirk Douglas' Childhood Made Him a Charitable Man Yet None of His Kids Got a Penny from His Fortune

March 07, 2022

Hollywood Stars Including William Shatner Share Tributes to M*A*S*H Actor Sally Kellerman Who Died at 84

February 25, 2022

Michael McKean & Wife Annette Share a Blended Family — Their Son's Body Was Found Lifeless at a Young Age

April 03, 2022

'M*A*S*H's Sally Kellerman Lost Husband & Daughter in 3 Months & Still 'Put on a Brave Front' Amid Grief

February 25, 2022

Liam Neeson's Sons, Who Became Semi-Orphaned on Mother's Passing, Experienced 'Double Pressure' Growing Up

January 30, 2022

Billy Joel Is Happily Married to 4th Wife Who Is 33 Years His Junior & the Mom of His Youngest Kids

March 08, 2022

Harrison Ford Had 5 Kids from 3 Marriages Including a Daughter Who Is His 'Hero' & an Adopted Son

May 14, 2022

Michael Weatherly's 'Difficult' Divorce from 1st Wife Made Him a Better Man despite Its Impact on His Son

April 16, 2022

Jerry Orbach's 'Extraordinary' 25 Year Marriage Saw Him Declare His Love with Poems Every Day

March 29, 2022

Loretta Lynn Gave Birth at 16 — She Felt 'Sorry' for Her Twins & 2 of Her 6 Kids Died Unexpectedly

October 04, 2022

Cloris Leachman Did "Everything Humanly Possible" to Save Her Son & Failed - Meet Her 5 Grown-up Kids

May 05, 2022

Melissa Sue Anderson Declared Love for Mike Landon - She Was Shaken When He Had Affair with a Teen

February 22, 2022