Tina Cole wasn’t afraid to interrupt the principles as America’s sweetheart.
The actress, who starred as Robbie Douglas’ spouse Katie within the hit sequence “My Three Sons,” made a daring transfer when she and her on-screen husband Don Grady determined to share the identical mattress in entrance of cameras. It was a dangerous determination within the 1960s, however one which wanted to be executed, they insisted. And the sitcom didn’t endure from the dangerous selection. In actual fact, the present thrived and stayed on the air till it lastly acquired the ax in 1972.
Cole, 76, remains to be maintaining busy as an actress. In actual fact, she’s set to star in “Reawakened,” which can be launched this 12 months. Cole, the daughter of one of many well-known huge band-era King Sisters, spoke to Fox Information about ditching the dual beds, her epic romance with Grady, who handed away in 2012 at age 68, and what her life is like at this time.
Fox Information: Trying again, how did you get the position of Katie in “My Three Sons”?
Tina Cole: I used to be 19 and took over the feminine lead in a present known as “Hawaiian Eye,” which was the primary present ever shot in Hawaii. I used to be below contract to Warner Bros., however then it ended. I did a number of exhibits after that. Then “The King Household” began. We had a weekly selection present on ABC and that stored me busy.
Then the fourth 12 months, I received a name from the producer of “My Three Sons.” He mentioned, “We’ve seen you. Come out and audition for the spouse of the oldest son Robbie.” I determine, Why not? I went in and, apparently, they’d checked out about 2,000 ladies. They screen-tested 20. They had been actually looking for the suitable lady.
They wished her to be candy, however not too candy. There was a wonderful line for her… After the audition, I keep in mind a casting director went operating to the elevator, chasing me. He was screaming, “Wait a minute, you forgot to signal the contract!” I received the half and was attributable to begin in every week. I grew to become a everlasting member from that day on and cherished each minute of it.
Fox Information: What was your relationship like with the solid?
Cole: It was attention-grabbing [laughs]. I received together with everyone. They immediately welcomed me, cherished me, confirmed me round – it was great. However I came upon a few years later that Don Grady, who performed Robbie, did not actually need me to be solid.
Fox Information: Why didn’t Don need you for the half?
Cole: He did not assume I used to be the suitable lady for him–well, for his character. He was actually into surfer ladies, Peggy Lipton fashion — skinny and blonde. After which there’s me [laughs]. I had no thought he actually fought the casting. And I suppose he felt awkward about it.
Fox Information: Did you and Don Grady face any challenges on set?
Cole: After we had been filming, we had been supposed to point out how this couple falls in love. However as a substitute of kissing, our noses would simply stumble upon one another — issues like that. I keep in mind the director someday mentioned, “Cease, that’s sufficient. We’re going to take a break, however then we’re going to movie one other scene and also you two must kiss. It’s started working. I would like you guys to go to the again of the stage and observe kissing.” And we did [laughs]. We needed to, so it regarded pure!
Fox Information: What’s the story behind the dual beds on set?
Cole: I keep in mind for one episode, Robbie and Katie get house from their honeymoon. We walked into what’s going to be our bed room. There have been twin beds. Now, that is 1967. Don mentioned, “There’s no manner. We are able to’t do that. We’ve gotta have a giant mattress. There’s no manner we will have twin beds.” In order that they needed to scramble to seek out this huge mattress. I believe we had been one of many first exhibits that had a pair on the identical mattress collectively on tv.
However there have been main guidelines that went with it. You can speak and lay in mattress subsequent to one another. You can have a look at one another, however when the scene was executed, you needed to roll over, again to again. You couldn’t finish the scene dealing with one another. It was too suggestive. I keep in mind we needed to do one thing very daring in a single scene – we needed to finish the scene in an embrace. All of us took an opportunity with that. We really broke the principles by ending the scene with a kiss in mattress. Isn’t that loopy? [Laughs]
Fox Information: How did you’re feeling about this entire dilemma? Your character is meant to be married.
Cole: I utterly agreed with Don. I believed it was ridiculous. It was simply unrealistic — it was foolish. I imply come on, this was the ‘60s. But at that time, we were representing the traditional family. People still wanted that in their lives and yet the whole world was going crazy with free love and drugs. We had hippies and Vietnam going on. And yet, we couldn’t be on the identical mattress. We represented this concept that some folks had been holding on to. I suppose that’s why folks appreciated the present a lot. It’s what they wished of their lives as a substitute of all this chaos.
Fox Information: How did your relationship with Don change?
Cole: Two years later, after I joined the present, I used to be divorced. Don and I began doing telethons collectively. We had been singing and fell head over heels in love. That’s once I came upon he initially didn’t need me within the present. However we had been simply loopy about one another. We went collectively on and off for about eight years. He wished to marry me, however I wasn’t prepared. I cherished him madly, however I had a son and I simply wasn’t certain. I wasn’t fairly prepared.
I keep in mind he requested me to stay with him. However I simply couldn’t. He mentioned, “Then I would like to seek out anyone who will then.” He then received married. We did one of many first reunion exhibits with “The Patridge Family,” which was actually odd as a result of we weren’t even on the identical community. I keep in mind Don and me locked eyes once we noticed one another for the primary time. He then mentioned, “I made an enormous mistake. I’ll name you once I’m not married.” And he did a few months later.
Fox Information: Did you and Don get again collectively?
Cole: Oh sure, we received again collectively. However then he wished to go to New York and check out Broadway. He mentioned, “Include me.” I informed him, “I’ll as your spouse.” Then he mentioned, “No, come as my good friend.” I informed him that I simply couldn’t. We by no means did marry, nevertheless it was a really great love for a few years. It’s humorous as a result of he initially didn’t like me in any respect as a result of I apparently wasn’t his sort.
Fox Information: What brought about “My Three Sons” to finish?
Cole: Fred Silverman took over as programming director for CBS. He didn’t like several of these little sitcoms on TV. He wasn’t into the entire all-American, apple-pie look. He hated all of these exhibits like “My Three Sons” and “Petticoat Junction.”
So he stored placing us in these unusual time slots like 10 o’clock on a Saturday evening – odd occasions the place nobody would watch us. We nonetheless had respectable scores, however he stored engaged on it till he was capable of cancel it. Although the general public nonetheless wished exhibits like “My Three Sons,” he didn’t like us in any respect.
Fox Information: What have you ever been as much as since?
Cole: For 24 seasons, I’ve directed musical theater for youngsters in kindergarten by means of third grade. It’s all interactive with a curriculum. We educate them theater etiquette, they study the music. It’s probably the most thrilling factor for me to do. I like it. It was simply ladies from the neighborhood who wished to offer again to the children. I am additionally maintaining busy with “The King Household.” I imagine we had been the primary household to have a tv present within the ‘60s.
My mom is without doubt one of the King Sisters. She and her sisters had been huge band singers. They had been nominated for one of many first Grammys ever. They’d an incredible four-part concord sound. Effectively, we’re placing collectively a tribute for my mother and it’ll premiere this summer season. I additionally moved to Sacramento to be a spouse and a mother… It’s been a beautiful place to stay and it permits me to be Grandma, which I like.