The Brady Bunch is a hit classic, but there were definitely some odd things going on behind the scenes. For instance, Sherwood Schwartz wanted the family to look a certain way, so both Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen had to die their hair.
Lookinland played the youngest brother, Bobby Brady. In a 2019 interview with The New York Post, he discussed the odd process of dyeing his hair for the show.
“Practically the whole theme of the show from the beginning was a blonde mother and her three blonde daughters and a brunette father and three dark-haired boys. That was the fundamental premise of the show. I had kind of strawberry blond hair and when they cast me they told me I’d have to dye my hair. I didn’t like it and I recall it being very weird for me,” he said. “No one ever really presented the hair color thing to me in that light and it was very strange for a 9-year-old boy to go to school one morning with red hair then show up on Monday with jet-black hair.”
Meanwhile, Susan Olsen had her hair dyed so much that it actually started falling out. She was a blonde, but they wanted her hair to be the same shade as her on-screen sisters.
Sherwood Schwartz Explained Why He Wanted the Kids Hair Dyed in his Book
In Schwartz’s book, Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch from the Father/Son Team Who Really Know, he wrote about wanting the kids to have her hair dyed.
“I wanted immediate viewer recognition with the kids and parents in terms of hair color. Blonde mother, blonde kids. Dark-haired mother, dark-haired kids. Blonde father, blonde kids, etc. No back story is needed,” he wrote.
Schwartz was so serious about having kids with the right character, that he actually had backup kids in line in case he cast parents who had different hair colors. But the only kid he couldn’t do that for was Mike Lookinland, who he felt was too good of an actor to pass up on.
“I cast Mike Lookinland as Bobby, the youngest boy. He had kind of blondish hair, but he was clearly the best actor of the youngest boys and he was 6 1/2, maybe 7. He read very well, and he was the most appealing of the boys who auditioned for Bobby, I decided we would darken Mike’s hair. That’s the way it turned out,” he wrote.
Schwartz actually mentioned he knew that Lookinland found it “annoying,” but he wrote that he knew it made him look like one of the Brady boys.
While there were definitely some head-scratchers behind the scenes, there’s no denying how important The Brady Bunch is in entertainment history. It’s now one of the most famous shows of all time, and if you reference The Brady Bunch, almost everyone will know exactly what you’re talking about. Schwartz absolutely had a mind for TV, even if he didn’t realize how difficult it would be to dye the kid’s hair.