‘The Brady Bunch’: Actress Turned Down Show to Become Star on ‘The Partridge Family’

by Joe Rutland
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Wait a minute. Did “The Partridge Family” mom almost become Carol Brady? Yes, actress Shirley Jones was almost a Brady.

Jones penned a memoir in 2013 called “Shirley Jones: A Memoir.” In it, the Broadway, movie, and TV star looks back on a lot of her personal and professional life. That includes her time starring on “The Partridge Family” on ABC.

One instant she writes about is when she received an offer to play the mother role on “The Brady Bunch.”

“While the idea of playing the mother in ‘The Brady Bunch’ was initially attractive to me,” Jones said, “I turned it down because I didn’t want to be the mother taking the roast out of the oven and not doing much else.”

Obviously, the Carol Brady role eventually went to actress Florence Henderson.

Shirley Jones Had No Problem With ‘The Partridge Family’

Jones, though, says she had no problem at all taking on the Shirley Partridge role at all.

“I had no doubts at all about playing Shirley Partridge,” Jones said. “First, because she was destined to become the first working mother on TV and I loved the script. Second, because working on the series would let me be an almost full-time mom and raise my kids.”

Anyone familiar with “The Partridge Family” knows that the breakout star from that ABC sitcom was David Cassidy. Shirley Jones was married to actor Jack Cassidy, and David was Shirley Jones’ stepson.

She was able to be there for David as he went through his own troubles with his father Jack, who was physically abusive and had a terrible alcohol problem.

‘Partridge Family’ Star Spent Time Dating ‘Family Ties’ Star

It is no secret that David Cassidy, who died in 2017, enjoyed dating women. He was a major heartthrob for girls and women around the world.

Yet David Cassidy found himself with a taste for older women. In fact, one female with a guest-starring role on “The Partridge Family” became involved with Cassidy.

Meredith Baxter found herself on one “Partridge” episode. During her time on the set, she and Cassidy hit it off. Baxter was just getting out of one marriage so she was available.

“Of all the actresses I dated, there was only one I fell for or thought I had,” Cassidy said in his memoir, “C’mon, Get Happy: Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus.”

“Only one I really wanted to have a lasting relationship with. Meredith Baxter,” Cassidy said. “She was a few years older than I was when she made a guest appearance on ‘The Partridge Family’ and we began dating.”

Now Baxter and Cassidy dated for a period of time, but it didn’t last. She moved on to another actor, David Birney. Years later, Meredith Baxter-Birney became a star playing Elyse Baxter on “Family Ties” on NBC.

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