Things behind the scenes of sitcoms are never quite as peachy as what happens on camera. This is even true for The Brady Bunch. In a Television Academy interview, Florence Henderson spoke about the conflicts between Robert Reed, who played Mike Brady, and Sherwood Schwartz, the show’s creator.
Henderson, who played the beloved Carol Brady, said that Schwartz was “very, very involved” with The Brady Bunch.
“He was open to ideas,” she said before noting the elephant in the room. “It is widely recorded how much he and Robert Reed fought.”
Henderson, eloquent yet unafraid to tell the truth as she saw it, said that she felt Robert was “very condescending about writers and directors, especially to Sherwood.”
Henderson Admitted the Conflict Was the ‘Only Negative Thing’ about ‘The Brady Bunch’
For her, the fighting was quite challenging to witness.
“That was, you know, the only negative thing about the show. The fact that Bob and Sherwood did not get along.” That kind of negativity takes a toll on a workplace environment.
“I don’t like negativity. I don’t like to be around it while I work,” she said. “Anger frightens me. I think it has a very negative effect on the people that are around it, especially when it’s done in front of them.”
Henderson often played a key role in diffusing the conflict. “I would often talk [Robert] down. Or Sherwood, and try to find a way to make it work so everybody could keep their jobs and keep the show on the air,” she said.
Reed had a difficult life and was described as “unhappy” while working on the set of The Brady Bunch.
“I had a lot of compassion for him because I knew how he was suffering,” Henderson said in another interview where the cast reflected on their time with Reed.
Robert Reed Formed a Strong Bond with the Cast
For Reed and Schwarts, conflict often arose over creative differences. But Reed also had a much softer side with his fellow cast members.
Reed absolutely adored the kids. Sherwood Schwartz even said as much. Susan Oleson, who played the youngest daughter, Cindy Brady, said that Reed was an important example for her.
“[Robert] remains to this day my shining example of how an adult should be with kids,” she said. “There was this unconditional, fatherly love that he had for us that we were always aware of.”
While it wasn’t always easy on the set of The Brady Bunch, it’s clear there was love there. That shines through in the episodes, where, despite behind-the-scenes differences, Reed and his fellow cast members put on a show that would teach audiences essential life lessons for years.