‘The Brady Bunch’: One Star Enjoyed Massive Success on Another Sitcom Before Joining Show

by Joe Rutland

The Brady Bunch” has quite a lineup of actors in lead roles. One of them, though, popped massively on another sitcom before this one.

Ann B. Davis, who played housekeeper Alice on “The Brady Bunch,” found herself the proud recipient of two Emmy Awards for her work on “The Bob Cummings Show.”

Davis portrays Charmaine “Schultzy” Schultz, a secretary whose in love with a playboy photographer (Cummings). She was so good in this role that through the show’s four-season run, Davis was nominated for an Emmy as “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” each season.

Now Davis, who was 28 years old before starting on the show, didn’t expect the success from her work on the sitcom to happen so fast. It took a friend’s boyfriend who was a casting director to recommend Davis to the Cummings show producers.

Here’s a clip of Davis on “The Bob Cummings Show.” You’ll note that the opening shows the title as “Love That Bob.” Also, you’ll probably see two other classic TV stars in the clip besides Davis. Look for Dwayne Hickman before he starred in “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” Also, Nancy Kulp, Jane Hathaway from “The Beverly Hillbillies,” appears in here.

Davis put together quite a career for herself. After being on the Cummings show, Davis spent a decade bopping between TV ads, shows, and stage work.

In 1969, she started her time playing Alice Nelson on “The Brady Bunch.” It’s a role that made Davis a household name around the world, even though she never won an Emmy on that show.

‘The Brady Bunch’ Star Didn’t Stay In Los Angeles After Show Ended

A lot of television and movie stars want to live in Los Angeles even if they’re between jobs. Davis, though, took a different path after “The Brady Bunch” ended its five-season run on ABC in 1974.

What did Alice the housekeeper do? Alice stayed with the Bradys in rerun heaven. Seriously, though, Davis sold her house in 1976 and decided to go live in an Episcopal Church community in Colorado.

Davis, who died on June 1, 1984, at 88 years old, reportedly never was married nor had children in her lifetime. The community in which she lived moved from Colorado to Pennsylvania, then down to San Antonio, Texas.

She didn’t totally divorce herself from show business, though. Davis appeared in some of “The Brady Bunch” reunion shows. She even made a cameo in “The Brady Bunch Movie” as a character named, not Alice, but Schultzy. It was a throwback to her nickname on the Cummings show.

Davis lived the rest of her life as part of the community. After the movie cameo, she stepped back a little from the business.

But she did something the other cast members of “The Brady Bunch” never did. She won two Emmy Awards. Pretty good for someone who got an audition for her first triumph through her friend’s boyfriend.