‘The Brady Bunch’: How Ann B. Davis Based Her Character Alice Off of Her Identical Twin Sister

by Madison Miller
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The lovable, comedic, self-deprecating, and wisecracking live-in maid on “The Brady Bunch” was Alice, played by Ann B. Davis.

As the maid of the hilarious and mischievous Brady family, Alice’s character played a key balancing role. She was a responsible figure the two adults trusted but was also someone the kids felt close and connected to on a non-parental level.

Ann B. Davis Inspiration for Character

When she came onto the show, Ann B. Davis needed to find some inspiration for her character. In an interview with Television Academy from 2004, the late actress talked about how she navigated playing the hysterical Alice. She shared that since there were nine regulars on the show, they required a lot of attention from the showrunners. This meant other characters didn’t necessarily have as much time for characterization. She partially took her character’s into her own hands.

“I made up a background story … have a twin sister so I used that as a basis. I decided that my twin sister was gonna be a doctor and she couldn’t afford school so she started doing maid work so I can afford to go to school,” Ann B. Davis said.

Ann B. Davis was born in Schenectady, New York. She had an identical growing up named Harriet. Her sister was not in show business, which made her the perfect person to look to for her wholesome character on “The Brady Bunch.”

“I cared very much about his family. It was my family. It’s as close to my family as Alice would ever get and I would’ve died for any single one of them, at any point,” Ann B. Davis also said about her character.

She would return as her character in several of the TV movies, including “The Brady Girls Get Married,” “A Very Brady Christmas,” “The Brady Brides,” and “The Bradys.” It seems as though Davis was particularly fond of her days on “The Brady Bunch.” In fact, she even wrote a cookbook with dishes inspired by the show called “Alice’s Brady Bunch Cookbook.” Certain cast members also chimed in with recipes of their own.

Ann B. Davis Discusses ‘The Brady Bunch’ Opening Sequence

Perhaps the most memorable and iconic part of “The Brady Bunch” was the opening sequence featuring the catchy theme song and each character appearing smiling in a geometrically pleasing box.

It was the epitome of 1960s television — with bright colors and catchy music.

It was a unique way of introducing a cast that still stands out today. In an interview with Conan O’Brien in 1994, Davis talked about her experience with the opening sequence.

“They’d set up a stool in a blue or something background. They put little dots you know on whatever they call those things that you put things on. And they’d say, ‘Alright Ann, look over there, now look down, okay. Now look front, now look that way, now look up,'” she said.

Although it was fun to watch, that sequence had to have been pretty awkward to make.

Outsider.com