‘The Brady Bunch’: The Role of ‘Mike Brady’ Was Supposed to Go to Another Hollywood Superstar

by Joe Rutland

Better take a seat, “The Brady Bunch” fans. You almost didn’t have Robert Reed as Mike Brady. It will stun you to know who was up for it.

Would you believe Gene Hackman? Yes, the Oscar-winning actor who played “Popeye” Doyle in “The French Connection” was going to play Mike Brady, according to ME.tv.

ABC, though, didn’t want Hackman who, in 1969, was an unknown actor. They cast Reed, who was under contract with the show’s studio and apparently had a little name recognition.

Reed Gains Success Through Role On ‘The Brady Bunch’

This is a situation with the proverbial two-sided coin.

On one side, Reed established himself on a TV show that millions of people watch in syndication to this day. On the other side, Hackman went on to do “The French Connection” in 1971 and collected another Oscar, four Golden Globe Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Anyway, Reed got the role. The one thing that hurt Reed’s career after “The Brady Bunch” left its network run on ABC is that he was typecast.

Typecasting Hurt Reed For Other Roles Beyond ‘Mike Brady’

That means other shows’ executives and producers pretty much saw Reed as a one-character actor, that of a doting husband and father.

Typecasting has been a problem for actors and actresses through the entertainment industry, especially for those on repetitive situation comedies in syndication.

Hackman didn’t have that problem, though, as his diverse acting background made him valuable in the movie industry. He could either play a lead role or supporting character, making his mark on any film with his presence.

Well, there you go “Brady Bunch” fans. You got Robert Reed over Gene Hackman. Funny how the twists of fate turn things around in people’s lives.

‘Brady Bunch’ Feud Puts Marcia, Jan Actresses In Spotlight

Meanwhile, there was reportedly some bad blood between actresses Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia, and Eve Plumb, who played Jan. There was an on-screen rivalry. But off-screen? Oh baby, let’s hear a little dirt about this. 

Susan Olsen, who played Marcia and Jan’s younger sister Cindy, confirmed the behind-the-scenes feud in 2015. In an interview, Olsen said McCormick and Plumb did not get along though they recently reconciled. 

In 2019, the cast recently came together and in good spirits for an HGTV special titled “A Very Brady Renovation.” According to “Entertainment Tonight,” Plumb and McCormick joined their surviving co-stars for the special. 

When asked about the feud and whether she and McCormick had to remedy their relationship, Plumb offered her take.

“There was no—People like to say things. There was no remedy needed,” she laughed.

According to Radar Online, after McCormick hinted at a romantic relationship with her TV sister in her book, Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, it ignited bad blood between the two.