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October 13, 2021

'My Three Sons' Tina Cole Had 8-Year Secret Relationship with Don Grady but Refused to Marry Him

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Famed actress Tina Cole and fellow costar Don Grady had a special on-screen relationship as husband and wife. The pair made a bold move to share the same bed back in the ’60s, which was bizarre.

Tina Cole starred as Robbie Douglas’ (Don Grady) wife Katie on the hit series “My Three Sons.” Sharing the same bed in front of cameras was considered risky back in the 1960s.

However, the duo said it needed to be done; therefore, the show did not suffer. Instead, it thrived and remained on-air until the network canceled it in 1972.

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COLE & GRADY’S AS COSTARS

Despite the show being taken off-air, Cole continued to grace the small screens. Her recent stint was on the movie “Reawakened” which was released in 2020.

That same year, FOX News interviewed her about ditching twin beds on “My Three Sons” and her romance with Don Grady, who died in 2012.

When asked about her relationship with the cast on the TV show, Cole said she got along with everyone, and they openly welcomed her. However, she found out years later that Grady did not want her to be part of the cast.

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He did not want her because he felt she was not the right girl for his character. Cole explained he was into surfer girls, Peggy Lipton style – skinny and blonde.

When asked if they had any challenges while on set, she said they had trouble showing affection by kissing as their noses bumped into each other. In turn, it frustrated the director.

He told them they had to make it work and advised them to go to the back of the stage and practice kissing. Unfortunately, the practice did not the costars make their chemistry look more natural. 

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Concerning the twin bed story: Cole recalled that they got home from their honeymoon during one episode as newlyweds and walked into their bedroom.

Thereon, there were twin beds, and it was 1967 at the time. Cole explained Grady said there was no way they were sleeping on twin beds and had to have a big bed. And so the crew had to scramble to find them a big bed. Cole said:

“I think we were one of the first shows that had a couple on the same bed together on television.”

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THEIR OFF-SCREEN ROMANCE

When asked how her relationship with Grady changed, Cole said two years after she joined the show, she got divorced. She and Grady began doing telethons together.

The singer said they sang together and fell madly in love. Cole noted that was when she found out that he did not want her in the cast. Nonetheless, the lovebirds were crazy about each other. Cole revealed:

“We were together on and off for about eight years. He wanted to marry me, but I wasn’t ready.”

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Cole emphasized she adored him, but she had a son. She was just unsure and was not ready. She also recalled when Grady asked her to move in with him; she could not.

He then told her he needed to find somebody who will. With that said, he married another woman. The next time they met, Grady told her he had made a big mistake.

According to Cole, the actor also told her that he would call her when he was no longer married. And he did precisely that a few months down the line.

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When asked if they ever got back together, Cole revealed they did. But then he wanted to go to New York and try Broadway and asked her to tag along.

Cole said she told him she would but only as his wife. However, he insisted she comes along as his friend instead. And once again, she turned him down.

The now-78-year-old shared they never got married but had an incredible love for many years, which she found ironic because he initially did not like her because she was not his type.

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TINA’S LIFE & CAREER

Cole was born Christina Yvonne Cole on August 4, 1943, in Hollywood, California. She has been married twice to Fillmore Pajeau Crank Jr. II and then Volney Howard III. She has four children, Volney Howard, from her first marriage.

Her children Fillmore, Chelsea, and Samantha Crank, are from her second marriage. The star is also known for the 1959 drama series “Hawaiian Eye.”

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GRADY’S LIFE AFTER THE SHOW

When the TV show ended, Grady and songwriter Gary Zekley formed the band Yellow Balloon. In 1973, he recorded an album of his songs under his real name Don Agrati titled “Homegrown” for Elektra.

In 2008, he released “Boomer,” a collection of songs written for and about the baby boomer generation. The musician also served as the composer for the 1991 Blake Edwards comedy “Switch.”

Apart from the music scene, the San Diego native grew up in Lafayette, California, and appeared as a kid in several TV Westerns, including “The Rifleman.” He began his television career as a Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

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PERSONAL LIFE

At age 14, Grady was an aspiring musician in high school who played musical instruments such as ukulele, accordion, drums, and clarinet. In addition, he was acting on the side when he got called to audition for the part of Robbie Douglas.

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The same day he went for the audition, he was cast that afternoon as the new Robbie on the long-running sitcom “My Three Sons.” He said in a biography that his acting skills came in handy.

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On June 27, 2012, Grady died from cancer in his Thousand Oaks, California home, at age 68. He was born Don Louis Agrati on June 8, 1944.

He graduated from Burbank High School in 1962. From April 2002, Grady worked on film and TV scores as a composer for productions on Lifetime and the Discovery Channel.

His parents divorced when he was in his teens, and his mother Mary became a theatrical agent. Grady is survived by his wife Ginny, his two kids Joey and Tessa.

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