Brady Bunch” housekeeper Alice Nelson was someone everybody in the family could confide in, and in real life, Ann B. Davis – who played the beloved character – kept a career-threatening secret for one of her co-stars!
Davis knew that Robert Reed – TV dad Mike Brady on the popular ’70s sitcom – was gay, but kept that explosive information to herself until after his shocking death from AIDS in 1992, sources say.
“Ann became deeply religious in her last decades, but she was quite open-minded back in the ’70s and helped hide one of the TV industry’s biggest secrets,” an insider said about the late actress, who passed away at age 88 on June 1.
“The show was a huge hit, and Robert Reed was widely regarded as ‘America’s dad.’ But back then nobody knew he was gay.
“Ann learned the truth, but producers asked her to help keep it under wraps because revealing it at the time could have killed the show.
“She and Florence Henderson (who played Robert’s TV wife Carol Brady) agreed to keep it a secret.
“Even the young actors who played the Brady children may not have known the details.”
As The ENQUIRER reported in 1992, Reed died of AIDS at the age of 59 after leading a secret gay life filled with one-night stands and sex-for-hire partners.
“He always went for the same type – a young man about 19 with blonde hair and blue eyes,” one man who spent time at Reed’s favorite hangout, a gay bar in Laguna Beach, Calif., said back then. “They all called him a ‘$200 trick.’ He gave them $100 for sex and an extra $100 to ‘shut up.’ ”
We also reported that Reed told one of his pickups: “If the world finds out I’m gay, my career is over. I’ll stop at nothing to keep that a total secret.”
Years after her TV hubby’s death, Henderson revealed publicly that she was in on the secret, saying the truth was kept from the public because “we all loved each other. We cared about each other.”
The insider added: “Robert’s secret was safe with Ann. She believed it was his life and as his friend she respected his wishes. She was very loyal to those close to her, and that included the entire ‘Brady’ family.”
While Ann knew Reed’s secret, actor Barry Williams, who played son Greg Brady, remained in the dark about Reed’s sexuality until his death.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Williams said at the time. “I’d never heard that he was gay, and I never heard anything about AIDS.”
The source said: “Besides Robert’s family, only a very few close associates knew the truth, and those he did tell were sworn to secrecy.
“He chose his friends well, and his gay secret was safe with Ann.”