Oct. 03, 2004
60 min.
ABC TV Network

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Desperate Housewives

On a sunny day in the loveliest of suburbs, in a town called Fairview, housewife Mary Alice Young killed herself. Now she takes us into the lives of her family and neighbors. Her girlfriends are Susan, a known klutz who recently remarried the love of her life, Lynette who struggles with her family and career, Bree the owner of a catering business and the ex-model turned housewife Gabrielle...

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Rex Van De Kamp Desperate Housewives
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Rex Van De Kamp

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  Played by:
Steven CulpSteven Culp
Steven Bradford Culp (born December 3, 1955) is an American film and television actor. He is known for ...

Character Bio

Rex Van De Kamp photo
Dr. Rex Van de Kamp is the late husband of Bree. He was a well respected doctor, a devoted father, and a excellent provider.

Rex asked Bree for a divorce while at a steakhouse they were eating at on one of the rare occurrences that the Van De Kamps did not eat Bree's cooking at home. He said that he could no longer "live in this detergent commercial," but the cause of their blase marriage was later revealed to be rooted in Rex's failing to ask his wife to dominate him. In spite of Bree's promises to satisfy her husband's secret sexual urges if he shared them with her, Rex embarked on an affair with local homemaker/prostitute Maisy Gibbons. Rex suffered a near-fatal heart attack whilst being dominated by Maisy. Whilst Rex was in hospital Bree threatened to eviscerate him, after discovering Rex's affair with Maisy by seeing that she had signed him in at the hospital. As a result of Rex having another heart attack, the couple came to realize that they should be nice to one another in the time they had left. However, the Van De Kamp's pharmacist, George Williams, fell obsessively in love with Bree and became jealous of their marriage, strengthened by Rex's rudeness toward George. George Williams' jealousy culminated in him tampering with Rex's prescriptions. As a result of Rex not receiving the proper medication to prevent further heart complications, he suffered another heart attack. Ultimately, the tampered medications resulted in Rex's death. He died thinking Bree had poisoned him after all that he had put her through, especially in the past year. In Rex's final moments, he wrote a letter to her saying that he understood why she had killed him and that he forgave her.

Bree was informed of Rex's passing. Rex's mother, Phyllis Van De Kamp, arrived for his funeral. Her constant disapproval of Bree for how she treated Rex led to tensions in the preparations for his funeral. During Rex's funeral, Bree discovered that Phyllis had gone over her head and put Rex's school tie on him, which Bree detested. In front of the packed church's congregation, she removed Rex's school tie and replaced it with the one she demanded from Tom Scavo. Rex was buried in that tie, much to Bree's approval. Following his funeral, Rex was buried. However, he was dug up during the police's investigation into his death after it was deemed suspicious. Shortly before a second memorial service Bree planned with Lynette, Susan, and Gabrielle, Bree was shown the note Rex wrote on his deathbed. Bree refused to be buried next to someone for eternity who thought she killed them. She moved his grave away from their plot so he was far from them, she also throws her wedding ring in the grave.

Returns to Desperate Housewives

Since his death, Rex has appeared in a coffin in the first episode of season 2 and in flashbacks in the season 2 finale Remember. The flashbacks included the Van De Kamps first moving to Wisteria Lane and meeting Mary Alice Young. When Bree tried to pressure Mary Alice into punishing Andrew for stealing one of the Youngs' garden ornaments, Rex assured Mary Alice, "We're not weird, we just seem like it." In another flashback, he was at the local drug store buying hair dye with Bree to get rid of purple Danielle had put in her hair. This showed Rex and Bree's on-going debate on how to discipline their children, in which Rex was much more lax than his wife.

Rex Van De Kamp took the role of narrator, much like that of Mary Alice Young, for season 3, episode 16 (the 62nd episode of the entire series) My Husband, the Pig, which focused primarily on the men of Desperate Housewives: Carlos Solis, Tom Scavo, Mike Delfino, Orson Hodge, and Ian Hainsworth. In his commentary on Orson "replacing" him as head of his family, Rex appeared hesitant but said that he had the Van De Kamp smile, meaning that no matter how bad a situation was, he could give a reassuring smile that made it appear that everything was perfect. It should be noted that despite it being unclear where Rex Van De Kamp is laid to rest, a tombstone featuring his name appeared at the beginning of the episode.

Rex also appeared in a season 5 flashback when Bree was planning to write a cookbook when he remarked she should get a job when the stove breaks down. Eventually he changes his mind when she takes it to heart telling her he'll buy her a stove.

Episode Screenshots

02x09 - That's Good, That's Bad
Season 2, Episode 09
06x19 - We All Deserve to Die
Season 6, Episode 19
 - Recap Special: All the Juicy Details
02x14 - Silly People
Season 2, Episode 14
[More Episodes]

Rex Van De Kamp Photos

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