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Brenda Benet 1945-1982
 


Country : Hollywood, CA
Profession : Actress
Date of birth : 1945-08-14
Date of death : 1982-04-07
Cause of Death : Suicide

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Brenda Benet (August 14, 1945 – April 7, 1982) was an American actress.

Career

Benet was born Brenda Ann Nelson in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. She attended UCLA for a time. Her first acting roles were in 1964, with appearances on Shindig! and The Young Marrieds. She eventually became an actress very much in demand for roles in episodic prime time television in the 1960s and 1970s, including I Dream of Jeannie; Mannix; My Three Sons; Hogan's Heroes; Love, American Style; and The Courtship of Eddie's Father. She also had a major feature role in the film Walking Tall.

Although many of the characters she portrayed seemed to be either sweet or seductive, she became perhaps best known for her role as scheming villainess Lee Dumonde on the daytime serial Days of our Lives, a role she played from 1979 until her death in 1982.

Personal life

Benet's first marriage was to The Donna Reed Show actor Paul Petersen in 1967. The marriage did not last long, and after leaving Petersen, Benet moved in with actor Bill Bixby in 1969. After her divorce from Peterson became final, she married Bixby in 1971. The couple had a child, Christopher, in 1974, and then divorced in 1979. After the divorce and up until her death, Benet was in a relationship with pundit Tammy Bruce, who was half her age and a minor.

Benet experienced a number of personal and professional challenges after her divorce from Bixby. Her role on Days of our Lives made her extremely unpopular with fans; Benet's character was breaking up one of the show's popular couples, Doug and Julie, and fans were outraged. In the book Like Sands through the Hourglass, actress Susan Seaforth Hayes, who played Julie, recalled conflict between her and Benet that intensified as the storyline progressed.

However, Benet's most personal challenge occurred when her son Christopher died in 1981. While on a skiing vacation, he experienced a sudden illness and went into cardiac arrest after doctors attempted to insert a breathing tube. Benet was devastated by her son's death and sank into a severe depression. On April 7, 1982, Benet took her own life by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. She was 36.

In her book The Death of Right and Wrong, talk radio host Tammy Bruce writes of her personal involvement with Bixby and Benet. Benet and Bruce were romantically involved for a time, and Benet killed herself in a home she had previously shared with Bruce. Bruce had moved out two weeks prior to the suicide. On the day of Benet's suicide, Bruce thought that she would be meeting Benet for lunch. Benet waited until she heard Bruce leave before pulling the trigger and ending her life. The book Soap Opera Babylon said that Benet was actually involved with a male costar on Days of our Lives that ended right before she killed herself.

TELEVISION
Days of Our Lives Lee DuMonde (1979-82)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Walking Tall (22-Feb-1973)
Horror at 37,000 Feet (13-Feb-1973)
Harum Scarum (24-Nov-1965)

 

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