Brodhead was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended elementary and secondary schools in Cleveland. He received a B.A. from Wayne State University in Detroit, in 1965 and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, in 1967.
In 1974, Martha W. Griffiths, Democratic incumbent for Michigan's 17th District to the United States House of Representatives was not a candidate for renomination. Brodhead won nomination as the Democratic candidate and was elected to the Ninety-fourth and to the three succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1975 to January 3, 1983. While in Congress, Brodhead served on the House Ways and Means Committee and on the Budget Committee. Brodhead also served as Chair of the Democratic Study Group which was then the liberal caucus in the House.
He declined to run for reelection in 1982 and returned home to the Detroit area.
He became a partner in the Detroit law firm, Plunkett & Cooney, where he practiced from 1983 to 2003. Retiring from the law firm in October, 2003, he practiced on his own until 2006, when he retired completely.
While in law practice in Detroit, Brodhead served on many non-profit boards including Detroit Public Television, Mt. Carmel Hospital, Michigan's Children and the Citizen's Research Council. He served at various times as Board Chair of the Skillman Foundation, Covenant House Michigan, Focus:Hope and the Oakland Mediation Center.
Brodhead now lives with his wife Kathleen, to whom he has been married since 1965, in Northern California. They have two adult children and a granddaughter who also live in Northern California. He serves on the board of directors of Covenant House, California.
- United States Congress. "William M. Brodhead (id: B000862)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| United States Representative for the 17th Congressional District of Michigan
1975 – 1983