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|Also Known As:||Chris Knight,Christopher Anton Knight||Died:|
|Born:||November 7, 1957||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||New York City, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ...|
As middle son Peter on the pop culture phenomenon "The Brady Bunch" (ABC, 1969-1974), actor Christopher Knight and his fictional family became icons of television history, although moving beyond the role proved difficult for the former child star. After landing early work in commercials and various television series, the young Knight beat out hundreds of child actors when he was cast as one of the six Brady children. The eternally upbeat family show was an unqualified success, making instant celebrities of Knight and his co-stars, who suddenly found themselves on the covers of magazines, voicing their roles on an animated spin-off show, and even launching a musical career as a vocal group. The show lasted for five seasons, but steady work beyond "The Brady Bunch" proved increasingly hard to come by. In the late 1980s, Knight began a successful career in the computer industry, although he never quite left the entertainment industry or the Brady family behind for long. Reunion specials like "A Very Brady Christmas" (CBS, 1988) and even a cameo in the feature film spoof "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995) periodically brought him back to the fold, but it was in reality television where Knight found new opportunities as himself versus Peter Brady. Projects like "The Surreal Life" (The WB/VH1, 2003-06) pushed him back into the spotlight, but the persona of Peter was never far away, a reality perfectly illustrated by his show "My Fair Brady" (VH 1, 2005-08). For better or for worse, Knight would ultimately come to embrace the fact that he would be "Forever Brady."
Born Christopher Anton Knight in Nov. 7, 1957 in Manhattan, Knight was the second of four children. At the age of three, Knightâ¿¿s family moved to Los Angeles, where a few years later, his father, actor Edward Knight, began urging Christopher and his older brother Mark to audition for film and television roles as a way to save for their college education. Of the two, young Christopher proved to be the more successful, soon appearing in several commercials and in episodes of popular series, such as "Gunsmoke" (CBS, 1955-1975) and "Mannix" (CBS, 1967-1975) in the late-1960s. The child actor was only one of hundreds who auditioned for a new family show being developed by television producer Sherwood Schwartz. Schwartz, who had previously created that other TV classic "Gilliganâ¿¿s Island" (CBS, 1964-67), was looking to cast a total of six children â¿¿ three boys and three girls â¿¿ and due in part to Knightâ¿¿s resemblance to already-cast Robert Reed as father Mike Brady, Knight landed the role of middle son, Peter. The usually comic, sometimes touching, familial adventures of "The Brady Bunch" (ABC, 1969-1974) followed the lives of Mike and Carol (Florence Henderson) and their spirited brood of integrated kids. Running for five seasons on ABC, the show made instant celebrities of its youthful cast, and continued on in syndication as a part of American pop-culture for decades to come.
The show proved popular enough to spawn an animated spin-off, "The Brady Kids" (ABC, 1972-74), which featured the voices of Knight and his fictional siblings in their roles from the live-action series. Although the original series had ended two years prior, the nearly instantaneous success of the show in reruns seemed to indicate a lingering hunger by the public for more Brady fare. The result was the somewhat awkward variety show experiment, "The Brady Bunch Hour" (ABC, 1976-77), remembered mainly for the fact that sister Jan (originally played by Eve Plumb), had been mysteriously replaced by another actress (Geri Reischl) â¿¿ an odd occurrence repeatedly spoofed in various forms, including in a years-later episode of "The Simpsons" (FOX, 1989- ). Knight attempted to keep busy with guest spots on series like "CHiPs" (NBC, 1977-1983) in 1978, and in such made-for-TV movies as "Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker" (ABC, 1979). He tried to recapture lightning in a bottle when he joined the cast of "Joeâ¿¿s World" (NBC, 1979-1980) as a member of the Wabash clan. Unfortunately, the "Brady"-esque sitcom failed to catch on with audiences and was soon yanked from the network schedule. Other work included a couple of turns on "Another World" (NBC, 1964-1999) in 1981, but it would be the role of middle-child Peter that would continually reappear on Knightâ¿¿s acting rÃ©sumÃ©.
"The Brady Girls Get Married" (NBC, 1981) marked the first of several reunion movies for the beloved TV family, followed seven years later by the holiday-themed "A Very Brady Christmas" (CBS, 1988). The infrequent Brady projects, and even less regular non-Brady jobs, eventually led Knight to investigate opportunities outside of Hollywood. That financial reality, combined with a life-long interest in science and mechanics, drew him into the computer business in 1988. Over the next decade, Knight went from an account sales manager, to a VP and executive with various software design and manufacturing corporations. As successful as he was becoming as a "civilian," Knight was not yet ready to permanently leave his acting career or his surrogate television family behind. There was a brief attempt at reunite the clan for a weekly series with "The Bradys" (CBS, 1990). A more dramatic take on the light-hearted comedy formula of the original series, it lasted only five episodes before cancellation. Always a good sport, he made a cameo as a school coach in the hilariously affectionate spoof of his old show in the big screen adaptation, "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995). Starring Gary Cole as Mike and Shelley Long as Carol, the film operated on the premise that the eternally bell-bottom clad clan was now living in modern day L.A., while they continued to exist blissfully within a bubble of 1970s fashion and family values. The film was an instant hit.
Later that same year, Knight made a very un-Brady-like cameo as a TV anchorman in the violent, sex-fueled, nihilistic road movie, "The Doom Generation" (1995), directed by controversial filmmaker Gregg Araki. Like many former TV stars with nostalgic cache attached to their names, Knight eventually entered the realm of reality television. On the fourth season of "The Surreal Life" (The WB/VH1, 2003-06), he and former notables like Joanie "Chyna" Laurer, Verne Troyer, and Jane Wiedlin shared a house together for several weeks, with as much in-fighting and general silliness as they could muster being recorded on camera. As an unexpected windfall for all involved during the showâ¿¿s taping, Knight became romantically involved with fellow housemate and model, the tempestuous and much younger Adrianne Curry. The spin-off "My Fair Brady" (VH 1, 2005-08) chronicled the coupleâ¿¿s continuing courtship, eventual marriage, and arguments over whether or not Curry should have reconstructive breast surgery, or if she and Knight were ready to have a child. During the same period, he acted alongside fellow Brady alum Barry Williams in an episode of "That â¿¿70s Show" (FOX, 1998-2006), with the TV brothers starring as a gay couple who move in next door to the Forman family. Knight went on to appear in two low-budget films with his new bride, including the direct-to-DVD releases "Fallen Angels" (2006) and "Light Years Away" (2008). Other appearances included "Celebrity Circus" (NBC, 2008) â¿¿ from which he withdrew after breaking an arm while practicing an acrobatic routine â¿¿ and the daytime soap opera, "The Bold and the Beautiful" (CBS, 1987- ) for a 2010 episode as a doctor.
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