“I’ve gotta say, I love hearing everybody’s stories,” says Eve Plumb, who played Jan on The Brady Bunch, as she and her five fellow child actors-turned-legends from that classic ABC sitcom — Barry Williams, who played Greg; Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia; Christopher Knight, who played Peter; Mike Lookinland, who played Bobby; and Susan Olsen, who played Cindy — convene on The Hollywood Reporter‘s Awards Chatter podcast for a rare reunion. “You know, we’ve known each other our whole lives, but yet I’m finding out really interesting things!”
The Brady Bunch, a show about two families that come together as one, was created by the late Sherwood Schwartz and is instantly recognizable by its opening credits sequence and theme song, as well as the moralistic happy endings of each of its episodes. It ran from 1969 until its cancelation in 1974, never cracking into the Nielsen top 30. But thanks to syndication it has never been off the air since, becoming beloved by generations who weren’t even alive during its initial run and paving the way for countless other shows about blended families like Full House, Modern Family, Two and a Half Men and This Is Us.
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You can listen to the episode here. The article continues below.
Past guests include Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Lorne Michaels, Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Gal Gadot, Warren Beatty, Angelina Jolie, Snoop Dogg, Jessica Chastain, Stephen Colbert, Reese Witherspoon, Aaron Sorkin, Margot Robbie, Ryan Reynolds, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Winslet, Jimmy Kimmel, Natalie Portman, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Judi Dench, Quincy Jones, Jane Fonda, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Justin Timberlake, Elisabeth Moss, RuPaul, Rachel Brosnahan, Jimmy Fallon, Kris Jenner, Michael Moore, Emilia Clarke, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen Mirren, Tyler Perry, Sally Field, Spike Lee, Lady Gaga, J.J. Abrams, Emma Stone, Al Pacino, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jerry Seinfeld, Dolly Parton, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Carol Burnett, Norman Lear, Keira Knightley, David Letterman, Samantha Bee, Hugh Jackman, Melissa McCarthy, Kevin Hart, Carey Mulligan, Seth MacFarlane, Amy Adams, Trevor Noah, Julia Roberts, Jake Gyllenhaal, Glenn Close, James Corden, Cate Blanchett, Sacha Baron Cohen, Greta Gerwig, Conan O’Brien and Kerry Washington.
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Its sextet of stars, meanwhile, who currently range in age from 59 to 65, marked the 50th anniversary of the show’s debut by teaming up with HGTV — which had purchased the Studio City home that had been used as the exterior of the Brady home, to turn its interior into a perfect replica of sets which had only previously existed on stage five of the Paramount Pictures lot — an effort which resulted in a charming four-part special called A Very Brady Renovation. The special, rolled out over four weeks last September, was watched by more than 28 million people and wound up with an Emmy nomination for best unstructured reality program.
“One thing that they knew in the back of their minds was something that 100 million Americans understand,” says Lookinland, “and that is that that house is as much of a character in that show as any of us. I mean, think about it: the orange countertop, Mike’s den, the staircase. It’s an iconic American touchstone — but it didn’t exist, it wasn’t real!”
Over the course of our conversation, the group reflects on the process by which they were chosen from more than 1,200 child actors for their parts on the show; what their memories are of the years they spent working with each other and with the adults on the show; how they felt — and their careers were impacted — after the show was canceled, and why they do not collect royalties for re-airings; what convinced them to reunite for A Very Brady Renovation; and much more.
“People come up to me and they say a line and it makes them happy,” says McCormick. “And I’ve heard it a million times, but to see them saying it, and their pure enthusiasm in saying it, makes me happy, because they’re happy. It brings them happiness.” Olsen, who played “the youngest one in curls,” adds with a chuckle that her own interactions with fans tend to be a bit different: “They usually just go, ‘Where are your pigtails?’ I’m like, ‘I’m 59! Why would I wear pigtails?!'”