On This Day: ‘The Brady Bunch’ Alice Actress Ann B. Davis Died in 2014

by Josh Lanier

The beloved maid and center square from The Brady Bunch, Ann B. Davis, died today seven years ago today after falling in her San Antonio bathroom. She was 88.

Davis, who played Alice on The Brady Bunch, didn’t grow up wanting to be an actress. She was studying premed at Michigan. But after her older brother landed a role in a national touring company for Oklahoma, she scrapped her medical plans and switched her major to theater, according to House Beautiful.

She toiled for six years in obscurity, working for free or taking odd jobs before a casting agent spotted her and put her in The Bob Cummings Show. Davis played Charmaine Schultz aka Schultzy for four years and won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She was nominated for all four seasons of the show.

She landed the Alice role on The Brady Bunch a decade later.

That’s the Way They Became ‘The Brady Bunch’

When Sherwood Schwartz created the blended family, he wasn’t sure what to do with the maid. He knew he needed an established character actor on the show, and Davis fit the bill. But he wasn’t sure how best to use her.

“Dad didn’t create ‘Alice.’ She was Ann B’s own creation,” said Lloyd Schwartz, son of The Brady Bunch creator, Sherwood Schwartz, to the San Antonio Express-News. “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.”

Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady, told MeTV that Davis corralled the kids and made sure everyone stayed on task and things moving along.

“I think she was a great asset for us,” Williams said. “She took work very seriously. She didn’t like a lot of fooling around. We kids, you know, trying to break the tension will fall out of place or something, move around, not staying focused. She would be our commandant if necessary. She liked us to stay in line.”

“During the show’s downtime, David taught the cast how to knit and sew. I had the boys hooking rugs and the girls doing needlepoint,” she told People in 1992.

Davis starred as Alice for five seasons on the classic sitcom.

After The Brady Bunch ended in 1974, Davis devoted her life to the church. She moved to Denver to join an Episcopal community and later moved to San Antonio.

Davis continued to act sporadically. She appeared in the Brady Bunch movies. Her last TV appearance was in 1997 on the sitcom Something So Right.

In 1994, a collection of 280 recipes, which were prepared for her most famous series, Alice’s Brady Bunch Cookbook, was published.