Her last name may not have been Brady, but Alice Nelson was a key member of that famous fictional family. The beloved housekeeper of “The Brady Bunch” was brought to life by late actress Ann B. Davis. And it’s hard to imagine anyone playing Alice other than Davis.
What makes this even more interesting is that Davis didn’t always want to be an actor. But life, as it tends to do, had other plans for her. Let’s take a look at her life and what eventually led to her landing her famous job on “The Brady Bunch.”
She was born on May 3, 1926, in Schenectady, New York, according to House Beautiful. She wasn’t the only Davis child born on that day. Ann B. Davis had a twin sister named Harriet. When Ann and Harriet were three years old, the family relocated to Erie, Pennsylvania.
When it came time for her to go to college, the future “The Brady Bunch” star chose the University of Michigan. At that time, she planned on becoming a doctor. These plans would change, however, when she saw a performance of the national tour of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma.”
Interestingly, she attended the performance because her brother was in the show. What she saw during that performance inspired her to become an actress. So, she ended her medical career before it began and changed her major to theater. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1948.
‘The Brady Bunch’ Star Ann B. Davis Waited Years to Be Discovered
It took years before Ann B. Davis would be noticed for her acting talents. In fact, six years went by. Finally, she captured attention as a performer at a cabaret and coffeehouse. “The Brady Bunch” star was 28 years old at this time when she was spotted by a casting agent. The agent advised her to audition for “The Bob Cummings Show.”
She did go in for an audition. And she landed a part in the show. She was tasked with playing the character of Charmaine Schultz, who was better known as Schultzy. Ann B. Davis was on this from 1955 until 1959. Her work was noticed by fans and critics alike. In fact, Davis won not one, but two, Emmy Awards. She won in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
After “The Bob Cummings Show” came to an end, Ann B. Davis continued to work in both television and film. She began playing Alice Nelson – her most memorable role – when “The Brady Bunch” debuted in 1969.
Interestingly, the creative minds behind the family sitcom weren’t sure what the character of Alice could become. She became the beloved character she was because of Ann B. Davis and her performance, according to Lloyd Schwartz. He is the son of “The Brady Bunch” creator Sherwood Schwartz.
“Dad didn’t create Alice. She was Ann B’s own creation. He just wanted a funny housekeeper. But he got a whole lot more. America got a whole lot more. I got a lot more. I got a lifetime friend,” Lloyd told the San Antonio Express-News in 2014.
Ann B. Davis passed away on June 1, 2014. She was 88 years old at the time of her death.