Why ‘Brady Bunch’ Star Maureen McCormick Bombed at Her Audition with Steven Spielberg

The 70s show The Brady Bunch remains in history as one of television’s most legendary sitcoms. Running from 1969 to 1974, the family comedy launched each cast member into cultural stardom.

Portraying Marcia Brady for the show’s five-season run, actor Maureen McCormick is still known as America’s almost-perfect girl next door. Yet she hit a major obstacle in her career which sabotaged an opportunity with a top film director.

Maureen McCormick of 'The Brady Bunch'
Maureen McCormick of ‘The Brady Bunch’ | CBS via Getty Images

Close-knit cast of ‘The Brady Bunch’

The Brady Bunch followed the marriage of two single parents, Mike and Carol Brady (Robert Reed and Florence Henderson), and their blended family of six children – Greg (Barry Williams), Marcia (McCormick), Peter (Christopher Knight), Jan (Eve Plumb), Bobby (Mike Lookinland), and Cindy (Susan Olsen), along with the family’s live-in housekeeper Alicia (Ann B. Davis).

The sitcom was the epitome of old-fashioned values and morality, yet covered topics including bullying, smoking, sibling rivalry. McCormick considered her onscreen mom as a mentor.

“[Florence was] a person who wanted to spread love and laughter,” McCormick told Fox News of Henderson, who died in 2016. “She loved people, she loved life. … [She was] just a great woman. Someone I really admired.”

The Brady Bunch star also had a special place in her heart for her TV dad, naming one of her favorite episodes.

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“I also loved the ‘Father of the Year’ episode,” she told the New York Post. “I always looked up to Bob [Reed] as a father figure, and my father was just such an important part of my life … so that meant a lot to me.”

Maureen McCormick discusses past drug addiction

In her 2009 memoir Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, McCormick chronicles her experience on the iconic television show and how she later became addicted to drugs.

“I sought refuge in seemingly glamorous cocaine dens above Hollywood,” McCormick wrote in her book, revealing she was “simply running farther from myself. … I spiraled downward on a path of self-destruction that cost me my career and very nearly my life.”

The sitcom star’s her parents had to take drastic measures to help her turn her life around.

“My mom and dad, they almost turned me in to the cops,” McCormick told Us Weekly in 2018. “They were at their last … cause they had been trying for years and knew something was going on and I was pretty sneaky and I could hide very, very well. But then I started messing up on jobs and so many things, so I’m sure everyone in the industry at the time knew that I was flaking out.”

Marcia Brady and Indiana Jones?

McCormick’s drug addiction squandered her opportunity to work with legendary director Steven Spielberg. After landing a chance to try out for the 1981 blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark, McCormick showed up for the audition “messed up” due to spending several days on drugs without sleep, according to Fox News.

“If there was coke, I had to stay up and do every last flake even if it meant going without sleep for days,” the TV star wrote. “Nothing else mattered.”

McCormick credits her husband, Michael Cummings, for helping her turn a corner. After experiencing a relapse when they were dating, she described how his “tough love” approach got her on the road to sobriety .

“He came to me and said, ‘If you ever do this drug again, I’m gone, I’m leaving,'” she told US Weekly. “It woke me up … there’s just no way I’m gonna lose somebody that I love. … I just had a feeling that I could trust him with my whole heart.”

The couple celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in March 2020.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.