After studio executives canceled The Brady Bunch in 1974, many of the younger cast found themselves locked out of the industry. It was very “uncool” to be a Brady in Hollywood, Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady, recalled.
Most casting directors wouldn’t look past the sickly sweet image the show projected, and wouldn’t take them seriously as actors.
“Being a former Brady and trying to do anything in the industry was extremely uncool,” she said in The Brady Bunch Exposed documentary. “And there was not really any respect for us. It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re on that stupid saccharine-sweet show. It’s like, well, I didn’t write the scripts.”
Barry Williams had the opposite problem. Since he had been one of the breakout stars of the show, he admitted to having a massive ego. When casting agents would call asking for him to audition, he’d tell them they could check out his work on TV. But when the show was canceled, everything changed.
“(From the time I) started in the business from the time I was about 10 until 20, it had all been one straight rise,” Williams recalls in the documentary. “So, why then at 20 should it take a nosedive? And when it did, it is extremely humbling and it is extremely difficult to adjust to.”
Eve Plumb, who played Jan Brady, tried to break out of being typecast by playing a teen prostitute in the TV movie Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn.
One of ‘The Brady Bunch’ Cast Had Hardest Time
Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady, the idealized teenage girl on The Brady Bunch, desperately wanted to escape the show’s shadow. She began hanging out with a “rougher crowd” and became a heavy cocaine addict.
“I was going to crazy parties, doing crazy things,” she said in 2016 while on Dancing With the Stars. “Drugs were everywhere. I lost all control. I did things that I’m not proud of at all. When my husband and I met, I had come out of a five-year heavy cocaine addiction. My husband really, really helped save me from rock-bottom.”
Her television mom Florence Henderson said during that broadcast that it was hard to watch the children struggle.
“There must have been a tremendous amount of pressure. And having worked a lot with child actors, for many of them, they have all this success and everything’s going great, and then the bottom falls out,” Florence Henderson said.
The former Brady Bunch star wrote a tell-all book Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice in 2008. In it, she goes into graphic detail about the debauchery and depravity of her life at that time. And she lost a lot of chances to escape her image.
For example, she blew her chance to be in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark because she showed up to meet director Steven Spielberg after being awake for several days.