I was saddened to read of the recent death of Don Grady, who is probably most remembered as one of Fred MacMurray’s boys on the popular, long-running (12 seasons) TV show, My Three Sons. But in addition to his acting career he also had a musical side, and he showed it before, during, and after his time on the show.
Born in San Diego as Don Louis Agrati, he took his stage name from his talent-agent mother, who used the professional name Mary Grady. (His sister, actress Lani O’Grady, sort of did the same.) In any case, young Don worked his way up as a child performer until he hit the jackpot — a spot as a Mouseketeer on TV’s Mickey Mouse Club, where he was able to demonstrate his singing and dancing talent to a national audience.
During his teen years Brady built up a nice resume by acting in a number of TV shows, and in 1960 landed the role of the middle brother in My Three Sons. (He would later become the oldest brother, after the departure of Tim Considine.) During the run of the show, Grady’s musical side again came to light when attempts were made to promote him as a teen idol along the lines of Ricky Nelson. He did sing on the show and was briefly in the spotlight, but he actually sold more records as part of a separate group known as the Yellow Balloon, which had a minor hit in 1967 with a song of the same name.
In the years following the run of My Three Sons, Grady appeared in a few TV acting spots but he mostly followed a musical path. He appeared in several stage shows and also wrote music for movies and TV, and he continued to be active until illness overtook him. He was 68 when he died.