“The Brady Bunch” cast was part of a phenomenon that other pop culture icons understand well. The experience makes people stars even as it defines them out of different roles.
Peter Brady actor Christopher Knight had mixed feelings about the “Brady Bunch” effect. But he’s come to terms with the lasting legacy of the show. And he now says he “owe[s] everything” to “The Brady Bunch.”
In a New York Post Brady family reunion, Knight and his costars shared the upsides and downsides of life after “The Brady Bunch.”
Christopher Knight Feared He Was Stuck with ‘The Brady Bunch’
“I was a young leading man and wanted to get beyond that,” Knight said. “But at the same time I had the feeling I was being tethered to the show and it was going to create a burden in being considered a serious adult. But it became this thing that I owe everything to… What it really has provided is this wholeness with this community that’s huge. I’m a member of everyone’s family and that engenders this great outpouring of brotherhood and love.”
Luckily for him, Knight was not set on spending his life in the entertainment industry. After “The Brady Bunch,” he launched a career in the computer industry, per IMDb. Knight transitioned from being an account sales manager to working in marketing. And he eventually co-founded a new company, Visual Software, which was a trailblazer in consumer 3D graphics. He later co-founded Kidwise Learningware, an interactive edutainment company.
Knight continued to hop from one corporate venture to the next over the following years, also co-founding another company, Eskape Labs, until a project with the late John Ritter got him back into show business. Stints on “Body Challenge,” “The Surreal Life,” “Blue Collar TV” and “Less Than Perfect” followed.
Knight’s Co-Stars Stuck with Acting
Knight’s co-stars tried to parlay their roles on “The Brady Bunch” into new acting gigs. But they met with mixed results. Cindy Brady actress Susan Olsen said they were looked down upon by “serious” actors who had perhaps spent less time in front of a camera but nonetheless did not consider “The Brady Bunch” to be substantial fare.
“It just wasn’t taken seriously. It was totally disrespected, and as a result we were disrespected,” Olsen said. “I was in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts… [I was] realizing the only thing people really saw me for were for roles like Cindy all grown up, which I really didn’t want to play.”
Things changed once the generation that grew up on “The Brady Bunch” came of age, she said. Retro chic became hip. And suddenly they were cool with the likes of rock stars.
Olsen’s “Brady Bunch” co-stars maintain that it was possible to have an acting career. That is, if acting (rather than being a celeb) was what one truly loved to do.
“I’ve had a thriving career over the last 54 years,” Greg Brady actor Barry Williams said. He’s acted on Broadway and in variety shows.
“I feel like I’ve been really lucky,” Marcia Brady actress Maureen McCormick added. She’s done movies of the week, a movie with Patrick Swayze and “lots of indie Westerns.”
At the end of the day, the “Brady Bunch” actors maintain that the show was special for its innocence and emphasis on working things out. Plus, it’s up there with classics like “I Love Lucy” and “The Andy Griffith Show” for its omnipresence on American television sets.