‘Family Affair’ Actor Kathy Garver Said ‘The Brady Bunch’ Tried To Emulate the Show

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

From 1966 to 1971, Kathy Garver played the iconic role of Catherine “Cissy” Patterson-Davis on the hit TV series Family Affair. During its prime time reign, the show collected eight Emmy nominations and one Golden Globe nod.

The show followed a wealthy bachelor as he tried to raise his two nieces and one nephew, who were orphaned, in New York City. Though the show was somewhat modern for its time because it showcased a single man with a family, CBS thought it was still too unrealistic and wholesome for the 70s. And as Kathy Garver told Fox News, that ultimately led to the show’s cancelation.

“I think there was a change in the times,” she said. “We’d been on for five years. Then in the early ‘70s, they were going towards more of a realistic kind of show. Our sitcom was a dramedy, and they wanted something like “All in the Family” instead of “Family Affair.”

Once CBS dropped it, ABC decided to pick it up. But right before the deal was final, ABC was presented with The Brady Bunch. And the network chose that over Family Affair. And once Garver caught a few episodes of the now-classic show, she noticed that it was quite similar to her canceled dramedy.

“If you look at The Brady Bunch the first year, you see the youngest child has her hair in little ponytails just like Anissa and is carrying around a little doll. She’s admitted, and they have admitted, they were trying to emulate Anissa and her success, as well as our success with the show.”

The Cast Members of ‘Family Affair’ Were Not Close in Real Life

If you’ve ever watched Family Affair, you may have noticed that the cast members seem to have a unique chemistry. But Kathy Garver told Fox News that while the actors all had great professional relationships, they weren’t particularly close.

“We liked each other a lot,” Garver said “And we got along very well. Of course, when you’re with somebody all day, it’s nice to go home to your own family. So we didn’t spend a lot of time outside of work.”

Kathy Garver admitted that she was closer with Anissa Jones, who played Ava “Buffy” Patterson-Davis. There were times when Jones went to Garver’s house. And they had a few slumber parties. “But it was a really good professional, warm, working relationship.”

That didn’t make the pain any less devastating when Jones passed away, though. The child star died of a drug overdose when she was 18-years-old though. When Fox asked Garver how she took the loss, she said, “not well.”

“It was such a tragedy,” she continued. “I had gone to her 18th birthday party, and her mom had said, “Kathy, I wish you’d spend some more time with Anissa because I really think that she’s in with a bad group of people.”