Obit of the Day: Alice of The Brady Bunch
With her trademark blue uniform and white apron, Ann B. Davis portrayed the housekeeper Alice Nelson on The Brady Bunch for the entire run of the show from 1969 to 197f4 as well as three spin-offs: The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (1976-1977), The Brady Brides (1981) and The Bradys (1990). But this hides a decades-long stage and screen career that earned her two Emmy Awards.
Ms. Davis was student at the University of Michigan planning to study medicine when she decided instead to focus on theater. (Her brother was in a national touring production of Oklahoma so the love of performance ran in the family.) She graduated in 1948 with a theater degree.
She moved out to California in the early 1950s and earned her first film role in the 1995 movie A Man Called Peter, where she appeared without credit. That same year she was cast as Charmaine “Schultzy” Schultz on The Bob Cummings Show*. During the series’ run, from January 1955 until September 1959, Ms. Davis was nominated four times for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Mr. Cummings’ lovelorn secretary. She won twice, in 1958 and 1959.
After the end of The Bob Cummings Show, Ms. Davis found sporadic work in television appearing as a guest on several series. Then in 1969 she was cast as the housekeeper for the Bradys, a widow and widower who remarried each bringing along their three children. Alice was known for her one-liners, occasional peacemaking, and unrequited love for “Sam the Butcher.”
At the time of her death, Ms. Davis was retired for several years but had recently starred in Swiffer commercials using her fame as America’s favorite housekeeper. Her last television appearance was in 1997 in an episode of Something So Right. (Her last film appearance was in The Brady Bunch Movie, 1995, in a cameo role as a trucker named “Schulzy” paying homage to her two best-known roles.)
Ann B. Davis died on June 1, 2014 at the age of 88.
Sources: IMDB.com and Wikipedia
(Image of Ann B. Davis as “Alice” in The Brady Bunch is copyright of CBS and courtesy of www.healthresearch.com)
* The Bob Cummings Show was the first-ever midseason replacement, premiering on CBS on January 2, 1955.
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