‘The Brady Bunch’: How Barry Williams’ Attraction to Maureen McCormick Was Temporarily Sidetracked
The Brady Bunch remains a sitcom legend despite its final episode airing over 50 years ago. Viewers continue to be drawn to the blended family of newlyweds Mike (Robert Reed) and Carol (Florence Henderson) with their six kids: Greg (Barry Williams), Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Peter (Christopher Knight), Jan (Eve Plumb), Bobby (Mike Lookinland), and Cindy (Susan Olsen). Alice (Ann B. Davis), the family housekeeper, had a knack for comic timing.
The actors playing the Brady kids were either headed for or in the middle of the hormone high of puberty. With crushes and possible hookups on the horizon, producers had to get creative to on how to put off the inevitable.
Keeping watch over the Brady kids
In his 2010 book Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch, Lloyd Schwartz described one of his ongoing tasks as the show producer.
“An unspoken responsibility that became part of my job was hormone patrol,” Schwartz wrote. “The Brady kids were attractive to America – and attractive to each other. Each of them had an opposite-sex counterpart with whom they were spending an inordinate amount of time. It is only natural that relationships would begin to develop.”
The Brady Bunch producer knew that any romances between such young actors in the cast could only lead to disaster.
“On-set relationships between adult stars are tricky,” he explained. “If it’s complicated for adults who have had relationships before, for teenagers (who have no prior experiences) it’s even more difficult.”
A growing attraction between Barry Williams and Maureen McCormick
Though he hoped to keep passions at bay, Schwartz could see the sexual tension between Williams and McCormick getting stronger as the two got older.
“The real issues that were developing were the crushes that Barry had on Maureen and Maureen had on Barry,” he revealed in his book. “At the beginning of the show, Maureen wasn’t ready for boys. That lasted about a year. All I knew was that passion was imminent, and that it would be destructive. … It would be simpler if they just didn’t start anything.”
Schwartz soon spotted “increased eye contact and giggling between Barry and Maureen,” he wrote. “I decided to go into a preventative strategy. I took Barry aside and appealed to his vanity.”
Telling the young actor that he should keep his options open, Schwartz planted the idea in Williams’ head that McCormick could be a great resource for meeting more girls.
“You’re a good-looking guys,” Schwartz recalled telling Williams. “You can use Maureen to meet some of her cute girlfriends. That way you’ll always have a large field of girls. And besides, if you get something going with Maureen, it could only limit you.”
Other Brady flirtations abounded
While Schwartz was able to postpone the passion between Williams and McCormick, he wasn’t able to completely prevent it. Apparently the pair embarked on an on-again, off-again romance which never materialized into anything permanent. Meanwhile, the other two sets of boy-girl Bradys were getting flirty.
“Chris and Eve were eyeing each other as well,” Schwartz wrote. “They had couple potential, but at that age, girls develop faster than boys, and Chris was oblivious to Eve’s advanced interest.”
As for the youngest Brady kids, their innocent love story resulted in a lifelong friendship.
“It was mutual puppy love,” Schwartz wrote of Lookinland and Olsen. “They were then, and are now, good friends.”