‘The Brady Bunch’: Ann B. Davis Created Alice Character Herself, Rather than Show’s Writers

by Joe Rutland

Usually, a TV show creates characters and hires them after auditions. “The Brady Bunch” role for Alice didn’t work out that way.

Did you know that Ann B. Davis, who played Alice the housekeeper on “The Brady Bunch,” actually came up with that role herself? Well, she did. Executive producer Sherwood Schwartz, who created that show as well as “Gilligan’s Island,” put together the other characters.

Not Alice, though, according to an article from House Beautiful.

‘The Brady Bunch’ Actor Created Simple Backstory For Character

“Dad didn’t create Alice,” Lloyd Schwartz, son of the show’s creator, told “The San Antonio Express-News” in a 2014 interview. “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 Schwartz also worked as a producer on “The Brady Bunch” alongside his father.

Davis spent time creating a simple backstory for Alice, using a piece of her real life for inspiration.

“I decided that my twin sister was going to be a doctor who couldn’t afford school, so I started doing maid’s work so she could afford to go to college,” Davis said in a 2014 interview with the Archive of American Television.

Davis Admitted To Being Caring, Loyal To On-Screen, Off-Screen Family

All of this had a taste of truth to it. The rest of “The Brady Bunch” cast didn’t know this, though. Davis only allowed Lloyd Schwartz to know the truth. Davis actually did have a twin sister who had a desire to be a doctor.

Alice, and Davis herself, had a deep loyalty to the family on the show and the actors off-screen, too.

“I cared very much about this family,” Davis said. “It was my family … I would’ve died for any single one of them.”

Davis proved herself to be quite a comedian a decade before “The Brady Bunch” even hit on her radar. She even managed to snag two Emmy Awards for her work on “The Bob Cummings Show” between 1955-59. All four seasons that show was on the air, though, she was nominated for an Emmy. But she only picked up two for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.”

She played Charmaine “Schultzy” Schultz, a secretary madly in love with a photographer. Cummings played the playboy photographer role on the show, which also went by the name “Love That Bob.” Davis was 28 years old when that series started.

Ann B. Davis died on June 1, 2014, at 88 years old. Her place in television history is secure as long as “The Brady Bunch” runs on TV sets around the world.