‘The Partridge Family’: 1 Star Nearly Played Carol Brady On ‘The Brady Bunch’

The Partridge Family is one of the most iconic TV shows of the 1970s, a series that revolves around the adventures of a widowed mother and her musical offspring.

Debuting on television in 1970, The Partridge Family quickly became popular with viewers of all ages — and these days, it is considered to be as iconic as The Brady Bunch, another family-friendly series that ran on television in the seventies.

One of the strangest links between the two series is Shirley Jones, the star of The Partridge Family. According to a recent report, Jones actually could have starred on The Brady Bunch, but the actress had a very specific complaint about the plot of The Brady Bunch

What is ‘The Partridge Family’ about?

Shirley Jones, Jeremy Gelbwaks, Suzanne Crough, Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce and David Cassidy
Shirley Jones, Jeremy Gelbwaks, Suzanne Crough, Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce and David Cassidy. | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The Partridge Family is a time-capsule of the seventies that has few rivals. Featuring rising child stars like David Cassidy, The Partridge Family was based on the exploits of a real-life musical family, the Cowsills. The show highlights the adventures of the family as they travel around the United States, performing for crowds, all while dealing with the real-life issues of being a family.

The Partridge Family ran from 1970 until 1974. During the first several seasons of the show, it began earning controversy due to David Cassidy’s rising fame, and the headline-making exploits of the rest of the young cast. Still, the show found new life in reruns even after it ended, and The Partridge Family continues to garner new fans to this day. 

‘The Brady Bunch’ was another popular TV series in the ’70s

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The Brady Bunch debuted the year before The Partridge Family, and in many ways, it ushered in a new era of television. The show revolves around a large blended family, a widow named Carol Brady and her three daughters, and a widower named Mike Brady with three sons.

Together, the family goes through the same struggles as many other blended families throughout the United States. 

The Brady Bunch was notable for the way it avoided controversial subjects, tending to stick to lighter subjects such as puppy love, sibling rivalries, awkward adjustments, and other family topics. The Brady Bunch ran until early 1974, and even though it has been off the air for decades, it remains one of the most popular TV shows of all time. 

Shirley Jones passed on the role of Carol Brady

Shirley Jones starred as Shirley Partridge for the entire run of The Partridge Family. Jones, who had a successful career as a singer and actress in Rodgers and Hammerstein films, had already received an Academy Award by the time she was starting to consider trying her hand at television.

However, before she accepted the role of Shirley Partridge in The Partridge Family, she was offered the role of Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch.

However, according to Biography.com, Jones passed on the role of Carol Brady due to the fact that she didn’t want a role that would involve “making sandwiches in the kitchen.”

The report states that Jones found the role of star-making supermom Shirley Partridge much more appealing. Jones herself later explained her decision, stating that: “as much as I enjoyed The Brady Bunch, I didn’t want to exclusively be the mama at home taking the roast out of the oven. The Partridge Family had the added component of music, which I loved, and I was also drawn to the idea of playing a single (widowed) woman raising children on her own.”

Clearly, Jones’s decision worked out, as she went on to earn great acclaim for her work in The Partridge Family