Reports that actor/director Tim Reid had checked into a rehabilitation center in Galax last week caused concern among his friends and associates. Family members were upset -- they thought he was in California visiting his son.
Turns out Reid wasn't in rehab. In a lengthy phone call that would be difficult to make from a rehab center closet, Reid says he finds the situation troubling. But that doesn't keep the former comedian from cracking a few jokes. "They didn't say what I'm in there for," he says. "I hope it's sex."
Reid, known for his roles on the sitcoms "Sister, Sister" and "WKRP in Cincinnati," says he started receiving calls from friends and business associates early Monday morning. At first, he reassured them that he was OK and took the calls in stride.
"Then it really bothered me," he says. "A rumor like that can really affect my business career."
Reid hasn't been on television regularly since a recurring role as William Barnett on "That '70s Show" in 2006. And his movie studio in Petersburg, New Millennium Studios, has struggled in recent years, making the 63-year-old cancer survivor an unlikely target for Internet gossip Web sites such as MediaTakeOut.com, where the story first appeared. Reid says he hasn't contacted the owners of the site.
"Why?" he says, laughing. "They didn't call me."
A call to the Life Center of Galax Jan. 7 confirmed that someone named "Tim Reid" had checked into the center. The person who answered the phone also offered the name and number of his counselor. In a subsequent call, a person who answered responded to an inquiry about "Tim Reid" by saying: "We don't give that stuff out."
"It's baffling," says Tim Reid's wife, Daphne Maxwell Reid, adding that she's called the center and plans to "take steps."
"This is a hell of a way to start a new year," Tim Reid says.
While Reid has been out of the public eye recently, he hasn't stopped working. He's co-authored a book about his time as member of an interracial comedy duo, Tim and Tom, for University of Chicago Press. Reid and Tom Dresden toured the country during the turbulent late 1960s.
"It's compelling," he says. "We both tell parts of our lives at that time. It's a mirror of the world through our eyes and our career."
Reid, referencing troubled starlets such as Britney Spears who routinely check into rehab centers, says he's considering adding another chapter to the book: "Why Should White Girls Have All the Fun?"
The book, as yet untitled, will be out later this year. Reid and Dresden are likely to reunite and make the talk-show rounds. "By that time, I should be out of rehab," Reid says, laughing.