Now here’s a story about a kid named Bobby. Bobby Brady to be exact, the youngest of the bunch! Mike Lookinland, who played little Bobby Brady during the original series run had an early jump on fame and every chance to capitalize on it but seemingly disappeared for the most part.
Born in Mount Pleasant, Utah while his parents were visiting family for Christmas break in December of 1960. While he would have a relatively uneventful first few years living with his family and eventually younger siblings in Los Angeles, California, Mike began acting at just seven years old in commercials.
Little Kid, Big Fame
In a massive stroke of luck after a string of commercials, Mike Lookinland received offers for two different starring roles on sitcoms at nine years old. The first, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father in the role of Eddie, and the other as the youngest son of The Brady Bunch, Bobby Brady.
We can all see he made the right choice in hindsight, as while The Courtship of Eddie’s Father got three seasons, it’s nowhere near as remembered. He would go on to play Bobby Brady throughout multiple decades, though he did have a few hurdles to overcome when it came to looking like his onscreen brothers.
While all the other Brady boys had dark brown hair, Mike’s was very blonde, so the producers and crew made a crucial mistake in using a product not yet perfected- Hair dye. Specifically, they tried to dye his hair a dark brown, with dark colors being much harder dyes to keep in the hair. The hot studio lights made it abundantly clear that wasn’t going to work, so producers scrapped that within a few episodes.
ABC would proceed to parade the Brady family around everywhere possible, whether it be in television specials, animated spinoffs, or attempted spinoffs starring Mike Lookinland’s little brother Todd. Mike would try to find a way out of revisiting the role in a Brady variety show but unwittingly become a cast hero and secure raises for everyone after asking for double the offered salary.
The Brady Bunch Variety Hour bombed hard and burned quickly, being canned after just nine episodes. leaving the Bradys temporarily homeless, getting the full American family experience.
Between all the Brady madness Mike Lookinland tried to break out instead of being typecast as Bobby Brady, starring in made-for-television movies and eventually his first feature film, The Towering Inferno. A hit disaster film, it still wouldn’t quite be enough to move Mike out of the Brady home.
The Brady Curse
Mike Lookinland would be trapped in the grip of Bobby Brady for the rest of his life, with nearly 95% of his remaining acting roles being either as himself, Bobby, or a project like Blended Christmas with his former Brady co-stars. He would portray Bobby all through the 90s in the various spin-offs and sequels, including The Bradys which would follow the original children as adults. It didn’t go over very well.
That didn’t matter much to Mike Lookinland though, as when he finished college he eventually moved into production and crew roles onset, becoming a somewhat prolific camera operator and production assistant throughout Hollywood, serving on movies like Halloween 4 and 5, both masterpieces. He would even be and play a camera operator on the Brady Bunch retrospective Growing Up Brady in 2000.
Personal Life and Struggles
While Mike worked as a camera operator until 2019, his personal life has been a bit varied. He would meet and marry his wife, Kelly Wermuth in 1987, but would also fight his personal demons with alcohol addiction. This all came to a head when he was convinced to get clean after rolling his car twice while driving drunk. He would receive a fine and thankfully, nobody was injured.
Mike Lookinland and Kelly Wermuth have two sons together, with the oldest born in 1990 and being the conveniently perfect age to play Mike in the Growing Up Brady film, bringing about the generational changing of the guard, sort of.
What is Mike Lookinland doing now?
These days Mike Lookinland is retired, still married to Kelly after 35 years, and going strong in almost every aspect of life otherwise. While he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 2019 and supposedly retired from anything film related, he and his Brady brothers Barry Williams and Christopher Knight. While they would be eliminated at the end of round one, they still outplayed Jeff Dunham and we respect that.
There aren’t any plans for other Brady revivals in the future, though don’t be too surprised if there’s something in 2024 to mark fifty years since the original series ended. Meanwhile, Mike and Kelly remain in Salt Lake City, running a concrete business that’s doing well by all accounts and he will somtimes pop up at fan conventions.
Growing up in a time where child stars rarely made it out alive, much less made it this long, it’s impressive that Mike Lookinland has managed to live out a full and satisfying life on his terms, even with his struggles.