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Tina Cole Fell in Love With Her My Three Sons Co-star

Tina Cole, or Christina Yvonne Cole, is a performer, director, and vocalist in the entertainment industry.

When she was just 19 years old, she got an exclusive contract with Warner Brothers Studios to take over for Connie Stevens as the female lead on the television show “Hawaiian Eye.” Tina made a few additional appearances as well, such as in “Palm Springs Weekend,” “The King Family Show,” and “The Lucy Show.” Her acting resume also includes roles in “To Rome with Love,” “The Rookies,” “The 6th Friend,” and “Reawakened.” The award-winning mother of four is best known, though, for her work on the film “My Three Boys.” While many appreciate it for its comedic moments, Tina recalls it for the lovely relationship she experienced with her on-screen husband, Don Grady. Join FactsVerse as we explore the relationship timeline of Tina and her “My Three Boys” co-star.

Relationship with Grady

Cole and Grady’s love story is one that, at first glance, seems to have been ripped straight out of a fairy tale. However, as with all great love stories, the truth is far more complex and nuanced than a simple fairy tale would suggest. In reality, their love story was one of ups and downs, missed opportunities, and the relentless march of time. The popular 1960 television show, “My Three Sons,” is about Steve Douglas (played by Fred MacMurray), a widower raising three sons with the help of his father-in-law and great-uncle. It wasn’t until 1964 that Cole joined the cast of “My Three Sons” as a love interest for Grady, who played one of Steve Douglas’s sons. However, Grady was reportedly disappointed with the casting choice, believing that Cole didn’t fit the physical description he had in mind for his on-screen love interest. He had preferred actresses like Ronne Troup, Peggy Lipton, or a tall, thin, long-haired girl, which Cole was not.

Despite this initial disappointment, Cole and Grady soon grew close as they rehearsed together for telethons. And then two years later, Grady later confessed to Cole that he had considered quitting the show when he learned that she had been cast as his love interest, but now he couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role. During that time, Cole’s marriage to TV producer Volney Howard III was falling apart. Her marriage with Howard officially ended in 1970. The divorce seemed like an opportunity for Cole and Grady to be together since they loved each other. However, when Grady presented a marriage proposal, she turned it down.

Speaking on why she turned down his proposal, Cole explained that she was not ready to get married again yet. Despite the divorce, she was still attached to the idea that marriage is supposed to be forever. There were times when she and her ex-husband remained close for the sake of their son. It was celebrations like holidays, birthdays, and other special events that brought the family closer together. Moreover, Grady had moved two hours away, and Cole wasn’t prepared to uproot her life and move away from her family, her job, and everything she knew. Although she loved him with all her heart, everything seemed fast-paced and scary.

“My Three Sons” came to an abrupt end in 1972, leaving both Cole and Grady professionally adrift. Despite this setback, Grady’s love for Cole remained steadfast, and he continued to pursue her. The love Grady had for Cole brought him around again, and this time he came with a different request. He asked Cole to move in with him, but once again, she turned him down. Grady, on the other hand, appeared to be ready for a family, so he proceeded and married Julie Boonisar in 1976. It wasn’t until a 1977 reunion special for both “My Three Sons” and “The Partridge Family” that Cole and Grady worked together again.

After three years, he and Cole finally crossed paths again, and he admitted to her that he had made a major mistake by getting married, promising to get in touch again when he divorced. Cole and Grady picked up where they left off romantically, but it was never meant to last. He ultimately persuaded her to move to New York with him so he could try his luck on Broadway. She agreed, but only on the condition that they marry first. Unfortunately, Grady’s priorities were elsewhere at the time, so they never got together. In spite of their unmarried status, Cole admitted that their love was truly remarkable.

Years later, Cole provided other reasons why she couldn’t be with the man she loved with all her heart. One of them was that Grady was against organized religion. Although deeply spiritual, he was lacking in certain key areas of development. Nonetheless, Cole was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tina Cole is still engaged in the entertainment world and has since given birth to four children and numerous grandchildren. She is currently in charge of directing a musical theater production for students in grades 1-3.

Grady, on the other hand, passed away in June 2012 after a battle with cancer. He died at the young age of 68. He left behind his two children and his second wife, Virginia Lewsader, at the time of his death.

Concerns from behind the scenes

For over a decade, “My Three Sons” brought laughter and joy to millions of viewers, cementing itself as one of the most beloved family sitcoms in history. But behind the scenes, things were not always as rosy as they appeared on the screen. In a candid interview years after the show ended, some cast members opened up about the challenges of working on a show that was, at times, out of touch with the tumultuous world around it.

Stan Livingston, who played Chip Douglas, observed that “My Three Sons” felt somewhat insulated from reality. While the world was experiencing major social upheavals, the Douglas family was still happily munching on Uncle Charley’s cookies. Barry Livingston, who portrayed Ernie Douglas, agreed, noting that the show’s creator, Fred MacMurray, was a conservative figure who steered the show away from controversy.

Don Grady, who played Robbie Douglas, admitted that MacMurray’s conservative influence sometimes led to unrealistic storylines. For example, the show initially planned for Robbie and his wife Katie to have separate twin beds. However, after cast members objected, the producers relented and provided the couple with a king-sized mattress. Cole revealed that this was probably the first time a TV series showed a couple sharing a bed on screen. However, the couple couldn’t face each other when the scene ended because it was deemed “too suggestive.” Instead, they had to awkwardly roll over to avoid breaking any rules.

Despite these challenges, “My Three Sons” remains a beloved part of television history, and the cast members are proud of the work they did on the show. Their honesty about the difficulties they faced behind the scenes only adds to our appreciation for the skill and talent they brought to our screens each week.

Cole’s rise to fame

Christiana Yvonne Cole was born in Hollywood, California, in August 1943, into a family of talented musicians and singers. Her father, Buddy Cole, was a renowned jazz pianist and musician, while her mother, Yvonne King, was a member of The King Sisters, a popular singing group. Growing up, Barbara was surrounded by artists and music, and it wasn’t long before she found her own calling in the entertainment industry.

At the age of 19, Cole made her acting debut in “Hawaiian Eye,” a groundbreaking TV show shot in Hawaii. She played the female lead, Sunny Day, and although the show only lasted for a year, Barbara was determined to pursue her acting dreams.

In 1965, she started appearing in “The King Family Show,” a musical variety series that aired on ABC. But it was two years later, in 1967, that Barbara’s career took off. She received a call from one of the producers of “My Three Sons,” who had been impressed by her acting skills and asked her to audition for the role of Katie, Robbie’s wife (played by Don Grady).

Cole accepted the invitation, and after an intensive audition process, she landed the coveted role. The producers had considered over 2,000 actresses and screen-tested 20 before selecting Cole. They were looking for someone who could play Katie as a sweet woman, but with a touch of complexity. She understood their vision and delivered an outstanding audition that left the casting director chasing after her to sign the contract.

Cole’s talent shone through, and she booked the part on the spot. She started working on the show the following week, and her portrayal of Katie helped make “My Three Sons” one of the most popular TV shows of the era.

During the 1970s, Cole’s acting career continued to flourish as she made guest appearances on popular TV shows such as “To Rome with Love,” “The Rookies,” and “Adam-12,” among others. Her versatility as an artist shone through in 1976 when she showcased her singing talents in the ABC TV miniseries “Eleanor and Franklin,” and the following year in its sequel.

Cole was not only an accomplished actress but also a talented singer. She belonged to the King Family Singers’ quartet subgroup, the Four King Cousins, where she showcased her beautiful voice. In 2013, Cole made a rare appearance at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, where she performed with her King Cousins, including sister Cathy and cousins Candy and Carolyn. The performance was such a hit that they returned to the club for further performances in April 2014 and August 2016, respectively.

Other Aspirations

It may come as a surprise, but Cole initially aspired to be a teacher. In her early years, Cole was inspired by her elementary school teacher and had always hoped to teach third and fourth grade. However, as the daughter of famous parents, jazz pianist Buddy Cole and singer Yvonne King, the entertainment industry eventually beckoned her.

Despite her success in show business, Cole’s passion for teaching never waned. In fact, it was her instincts as a mother that led her to spearhead the formation of the River Oaks School. The school was established when Cole’s son, Volney, was in the fifth grade and was set to be bussed for an hour and a half from Sherman Oaks to Watts in east LA. With concerns over safety, Cole and other parents purchased an old church and converted it into a kindergarten to eighth-grade school.

Cole, a natural leader, was instrumental in the school’s music program, while other parents took charge of extracurricular activities such as art. The school boasted a student body of 250 and accredited teachers, and Cole looks back on the experience as one of the most rewarding of her life.

There you have it. It’s now time to hear from you. We would love to know what you think about Cole and Grady’s relationship.

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