Don Grady from “My Three Sons” dead at 68

Don Grady, who played Chip and Ernie’s wholesome (heartthrob big brother Robbie on the long-running television sitcom “My Three Sons”) died on Wednesday at his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 68.
A family spokesman said the cause was cancer.
Mr. Grady, a versatile musician and singer who got his start in television as a Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club,” considered music his vocation and his acting career something of an accident. At 14, he was an aspiring musician in high school who played ukulele, drums, accordion and clarinet while acting on the side when he was called to audition for the part of Robbie Douglas, one of three sons of the wistful, pipe-smoking widower Steve Douglas, played by Fred MacMurray.
The producers had already cast another actor. “But, for reasons I never found out, they needed to replace him” – Mr. Grady wrote in the forward to “Fred MacMurray” – a 2007 biography by Charles Tranberg. “I was summoned to a hastily held audition at noon, and by 3 p.m. I was cast as the new Robbie. My acting abilities probably helped, but I still believe the reason I got the part was because the cleft in my chin looked like Fred’s.”

Don Grady from "My Three Sons" dead at 68
Don Grady.

Don Grady, who was one of television’s most beloved big brothers as Robbie Douglas on the long-running 1960′s hit “My Three Sons,” died Wednesday. He was 68.
His “My Three Sons” co-star Barry Livingston, who played youngest brother Ernie, confirmed Mr. Grady’s death to the Associated Press. Livingston said Mr. Grady had been suffering from cancer and receiving hospice care at his home in Thousand Oaks – Ventura County. But the exact cause and place of death were not immediately clear.
“It’s the oldest cliche in the world when TV brothers start referring to each other like biological brothers, but he was the oldest, and somebody I looked up to and learned from a great deal about life” – Livingston said.
Born in San Diego as Don Louis Agrati, Mr. Grady had a brief stint singing and dancing on “The Mickey Mouse Club” starting at age 13.
But he was best known as one of Fred MacMurray’s “My Three Sons” on the series that ran on ABC and later CBS from 1960 to 1972.
The popular show, which featured MacMurray as a widowed aeronautical engineer struggling to raise three older boys, was among the longest-running family sitcoms of all time with 380 episodes.
In the show’s earlier years, Mr. Grady was actually the middle brother, with Tim Considine playing the oldest, Mike, and Stanley Livingston playing the youngest, Chip. When Considine departed, Barry Livingston became the adopted “third” son, and Mr. Grady became the cool, handsome and assured eldest brother that much of America adored.
A musical prodigy, Mr. Grady appeared with a band, the Greefs, in the series, and in real life played drums for The Yellow Balloon, which had a minor hit with a self-titled song in 1967.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRP-wElPSQo

Born Don Louis Agrati, Grady had a brief stint singing and dancing on “The Mickey Mouse Club” starting at age 13. But he was best known as one of Fred MacMurray’s “My Three Sons” on the series that ran on ABC and later CBS from 1960 to 1972.
The popular show, which featured MacMurray as a widowed aeronautical engineer struggling to raise three older boys, was among the longest running family sitcoms of all time, with 380 episodes.
In the show’s earlier years, Grady was actually the middle brother, with Tim Considine playing the oldest, Mike, and Stanley Livingston playing the youngest, Chip. When Considine departed, Barry Livingston became the adopted “third” son, and Grady became the cool, handsome and assured eldest brother.
A musical prodigy, Grady appeared with a band, the Greefs, in the series, and in real life played drums for the Yellow Balloon, who had a minor hit with a self-titled song in 1967.
He made a handful of guest appearances on television series in the 1970′s and 1980′s, but he worked primarily as a musician and composer, writing the theme for “The Phil Donahue Show” and music for the Blake Edwards film “Switch” and the popular Las Vegas show “EFX,” a showcase for “Phantom of the Opera” star Michael Crawford.
“The one real through-line in his life was music” – Livingston said. “I would think Don would love to be remembered for his great music as much as a teen idol and television icon.”

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