Brenda Benet was a film and television actress from the United States of America. She had a few film credits to her name but most of her life’s work was on the small screen. She appeared in a countless number of soap operas the most notable of which is the long-running series Days of Our Lives in which she portrayed the villainess Lee DuMonde. However, her career came to an unfortunate end in 1982 when she took her own life. Read on to learn more about the actress.
Brenda Benet’s Bio
Though she was professionally known as Brenda Benet, the actress was born Brenda Ann Nelson on the 14th day of August 1945. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. There is barely any information regarding her childhood or early education. However, she was known to have taken a keen interest in the performing arts right from a young age. Her mother had to take multiple jobs in order to afford her dance classes. For college, Benet enrolled to study at the University of Los Angeles California majoring in languages but she quit after a short while.
She marked her acting debut on an episode of the short-lived ABC sitcom Wendy and Me (1964) and went on to score a countless number of guest appearances on different TV series all through her 16-year acting career. Some of her notable television credits were in the TV series/soap operas The Young Marrieds (1965-66), My Three Sons (1966-70), It Takes a Thief (1968-69), Hogan’s Heroes (1968-70), Where the Heart Is (1969), Love, American Style (1969-72) and Mannix (1971-75).
Brenda Benet also had roles in the telefilms Wednesday Night Out (1972) and The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973). Her most memorable acting credit was on the long-running NBC daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives (1979-82). The talented actress portrayed the recurring character Lee DuMonde during her 3-year stint on the show. Interestingly, she was quite unpopular among fans of the show as her character was set to break up one of the most popular couples on the show.
The talented actress also recorded a few big screen credits in the early years of her career. She marked her feature film debut in the musical comedy Beach Ball (1965) after which she appeared in another musical comedy Harum Scarum (1965), starring alongside Elvis Presley. Benet also appeared in the action film Track of Thunder (1967) and her last movie role was in the semi-biopic Walking Tall (1973). Her last acting performance, however, was on an episode of the western drama series Father Murphy in 1982.
Relationships and Marriages
Brenda Benet had quite a number of memorable relationships during her lifetime. Her first major relationship was with actor and singer Paul Petersen and they eventually got married on June 22, 1967. The union hit the rocks barely two years later and both parties went their separate ways. Their divorce was finalized in 1970.
Her most significant relationship was with actor and filmmaker Bill Bixby. The two Hollywood stars got together in the year 1969 and their romance culminated into a marital union on July 4, 1971. They had one child together but their marriage eventually ended in divorce in 1979.
From 1979 up until her death, Brenda Benet was romantically involved with a much younger woman Tammy Bruce, a media personality and writer. Apparently, she was bisexual and she had dated Bruce sometime in the past. They both shared a home together but Bruce eventually moved out two weeks before Benet’s untimely death. Brenda Benet was also known to have had a fling with actor Aron Kincaid.
The Hollywood actress had one child during her lifetime. She welcomed her first and only child in Septemeber 1974, a son named Christopher Sean Bixby. The father of the child was her husband at that time, Bill Bixby.
Death: How Did She Die?
A year prior to her untimely death, Brenda Benet suffered a heart-wrenching tragedy. Her six-year-old son Christopher died while they were on a skiing vacation at Mammoth Lakes, California. The tragic loss sent her into a severe depression which she never really recovered from.
On April 7, 1982, Brenda Benet took her own life at her home in Mandeville Canyon, West Los Angeles. She died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and she was 36 years of age at the time of her death. Her dead body was found locked up in her bathroom.