Ann B. Davis is perhaps best known for her role as Alice Nelson on The Brady Bunch, but the actress had quite a career before getting on the show. For those who don’t remember, Alice Nelson was the Brady family’s zany and hilarious housekeeper and dear friend. She was almost like a member of the family herself.
Her 15-year long career before the Brady Bunch is a fascinating look at the actress’s range and talent. For instance, in 1959, Davis hosted the ninth annual American Cinema Editors awards. In 1960, Davis replaced the iconic Carol Burnette in a Broadway role for “Once Upon a Mattress.”
The actress also won two consecutive Emmys. In 1963, she starred in a pilot for the show Get With It, but it sadly didn’t get picked up. She hadn’t given up on performing on a stage though. Around the same time, Davis also participated in a comedy troupe on The Keefe Brasselle Show.
Davis also co-starred with John Forsythe in the NBC comedy Bride of Frankenstein.
Shortly before The Brady Bunch, she starred alongside Louis Gossett Jr., William Windom, and Bill Bixby in a production of Big Fish, Little Fish.
Essentially, Davis had deep connections in the comedy world before hitting the set of The Brady Bunch, and while her work on the show is what most people associate her with, her other work is definitely intriguing.
Along with The Brady Bunch, Davis would go on to appear in many different reunions over the decades.
‘The Brady Bunch’ Actor Christopher Knight Was Intimidated By Davis
While Davis often said how much she cared about her Brady Bunch family, Christopher Knight was initially intimidated by her. Knight of course played Middle Child Peter Brady. He told Forbes in 2019, that she always came “really well prepared” and took things quite seriously.
“She was a comedian, but it wasn’t as though she was effervescent with humor,” he said. “Humor was more engineered. She knew how to deliver humor. But it wasn’t ever-present in her person in the moment. She was more of a person who was going to get you to be more of an adult than you would have been otherwise, which is not a bad thing.”
Having been in the business a while, it makes sense that she’d have the technical expertise. While it may have been intimidating to some of the kids, it sounds like she inspired them to be better themselves.
Davis passed away in 2014 at 88 years old. Her final acting credit is from 1997. Her legacy as an actress on The Brady Bunch and a comedian will continue on for decades. From the sound of it, her quick wit and professional precision made her a good addition to any set.