Over 50 years ago, the pilot episode of the classic TV show The Brady Bunch premiered on ABC, launching what would become one of the most iconic series in television history. Even those who have never seen a single episode can likely give a few details about the show.
In addition to securing a place in the television hall of fame, The Brady Bunch also launched the career of not one but six child stars. Though Mr. and Mrs. Brady were a major part of the show, along with the family nanny, Alice, the six Brady children were the true centerpiece.
For Eve Plumb, however, who played the middle daughter of the family, Jan, becoming a television star was never her dream. Being known today as one of the most iconic child stars of all time was simply a happy accident.
In a 2018 interview with Closer Weekly, Eve Plumb explained how her starring role on The Brady Bunch came to be. “It just happened,” Plumb explained. “A children’s agent moved next door to me when I was a kid and I got a commercial, then I kept getting more. I shot TV pilots, appeared on The Big Valley, then Lassie, then The Brady Bunch came.”
‘The Brady Bunch’ Star Eve Plumb Recalls Struggles With Being Typecast
Like many child stars, Eve Plumb found it difficult to escape the shadow of Jan Brady following the show’s conclusion in 1974. Though she was only 16 years old and had her entire career ahead of her, the actress found that no one could see her as anything but Jan Brady. “I had so much success as a child,” Plumb recalled. “But once you age out of being a cute kid, then what? If you’re not ready for it, it can be very difficult.”
“I’ll always be Jan Brady to so many people. I can’t escape it, but I can do other things,” she explained before adding with a laugh, “Isn’t [Jan] dead yet?”
Though she’ll “always be Jan Brady,” Eve Plumb jumps at any chance to try a new role. “I will audition for anything!” she said. “Whatever comes my way!”
Thankfully, Eve Plumb’s parents set her up for success early in her career. Because of their wise decisions, she continues to benefit from The Brady Bunch to this day. “My father ran my career and invested my money very well. My mother was with me on set every day. They never took a cent from me!”
And even though she jokes about the demise of Jan Brady, Eve Plumb will always be grateful for her childhood role. In fact, she says she’s not afraid to use it to get auditions decades later. “If it gets me in the door, then fine!” she explained. “If you’re surprised to learn I can do other things, then great!”