‘The Brady Bunch’ Alice Actor Ann B. Davis Called Robert Reed ‘A Very Sad Man’
Still seen around the world over 50 years after its television debut, The Brady Bunch‘s cast of children, three adults, and one dog captured the hearts of America all those years ago, and still does today.
Robert Reed, according to his co-star Ann B. Davis a.k.a. Alice the housekeeper to viewers, wasn’t as enthralled with the series as its fans were.
She opened up to the Archive of American Television about Reed’s underlying issues with the show and the sadness that pervaded his personality.
Robert Reed had hoped for a different career path
Reed considered himself a serious actor. Before his role as Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch, he was featured in television series including the courtroom drama The Defenders; Love, American Style; and Dr. Kildare.
The last thing Reed wanted to work on was a situation comedy. Once he signed on, Reed didn’t hide his lack of respect for producers Schwartz and his son, Lloyd.
“From the very beginning of filming, Bob Reed was reticent about the series,” show creator Sherwood Schwartz wrote in the 2010 book Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch. “He objected to just about everything.”
He was a ‘sad man’
Davis, in her 2004 conversation with the Academy of American Television commented on the undercurrent of sadness she witnessed in Reed when she worked with him on the series about a blended family.
“Robert was a very sad man,” she said. “I knew that he was a good actor. He’d been classically trained. He’d done classical things. And he was not happy. Of the shows that Paramount was making, the pilots that they were making, The Brady Bunch was the last one he wanted to do.
“He was a very good actor and he did it very well. But he was never really happy with it and that rubbed off on the set.
Despite his unhappiness, Reed helped create a timeless series
As Kimberly Potts, author of The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch: How the Canceled Sitcom Became the Beloved Pop Culture Icon We Are Still Talking About Today told The New York Post in 2019 of Reed’s dualing feelings of hatred for the show and devotion to the child actors.
“He took his responsibility as the TV dad seriously,” Potts said. “He famously took the kids on a trip to England because he wanted to expose them to culture and Shakespeare. He also famously gave them Super 8 cameras for Christmas. He wanted to help them the same as a father would.”
Show star Susan Olsen who played youngest Brady daughter Cindy confirmed that sentiment, telling ABC News in 2006, “Bob remains to this day my shining example of how an adult should be with kids,” she said. “There was this unconditional, fatherly love that he had for us that we were always aware of.”