Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Brenda Benet
On April 7, 1982, she took her own life by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
More DetailsHide DetailsShe 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. According to Bruce, Benet was locked inside the bathroom of her home when she arrived. Bruce sensed something was wrong and went to get help. After Bruce stepped outside, Benet shot herself. The book Soap Opera Babylon said that Benet was actually involved in a relationship with a male costar on Days of Our Lives that ended right before she killed herself.
However, Benet's most personal challenge occurred when her son Christopher died in 1981.
More DetailsHide DetailsWhile 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.
After her divorce from Petersen became final, she married Bixby in 1971. The couple had a child, Christopher, in 1974, and then divorced in 1980.
More DetailsHide DetailsAfter the divorce and up until her death, Benet was in a relationship with pundit Tammy Bruce (b. 1962).
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.
In 1969, Benet left Petersen for actor Bill Bixby.
Benet was born Brenda Ann Nelson in Los Angeles, California. She attended UCLA for a time. Her first acting roles were in 1964, with appearances on Shindig! and The Young Marrieds.
More DetailsHide DetailsShe 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, Wonder Woman, The Love Boat and The Courtship of Eddie's Father. She also had a major feature role in the film Walking Tall (1973).
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.
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