Ann B. Davis, known for her role as the beloved housekeeper on “The Brady Bunch,” died Sunday in San Antonio, Texas. She was 88.
Davis fell and hit her head in the bathtub on Saturday, causing a subdural hematoma, and never regained consciousness.
Davis was a favorite of “The Brady Bunch” as Alice, the often comedic housekeeper that lived with the iconic TV family. The ABC show, created by Sherwood Schwartz, ran from 1969-74 and would go on to spawn several movies and a spinoff series.
The show followed the large Brady family, played by Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, Eve Plumb and Susan Olsen.
“I made up a background story. I did have a twin sister, so I used that as a basis,” Davis said of the role in a 2004 interview with the Archive of America Television. “I cared very much about this family. It was my family. It was close to my family as Alice would ever get. I would have died for any single one of them at any point.”
Davis would go on to reprise her role in “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour,” spinoff “The Brady Brides” and movies “The Brady Girls Get Married” and “A Very Brady Christmas.” She appeared as a truck driver in 1995’s “The Brady Bunch Movie.”
Before “Brandy Bunch,” Davis rose to fame in 1955 with “The Bob Cummings Show” as secretary Charmaine “Shultzy” Schultz. The role earned her four Emmy nominations and two wins, one in 1958 and one in 1959. The show ended in 1959 after five seasons. Davis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.
“I remember my first ‘demographic report’ on the ‘Brady Bunch,'” Davis recalled in the Archive of American Television interview. “I was with a friend, who told her little girl, ‘Honey, you remember Shultzy?’ The girl said, ‘That’s not Shultzy, that’s Alice!’ I knew that we were coming along.”
She also had a role as physical education teacher Miss Wilson in 1965-66 series “The John Forsythe Show.” Most recently, she had a guest role in 1997 on the sitcom “Something So Right.”
Born in Schenectady, N.Y., Davis had originally planned to study medicine at the University of Oklahoma, but her plans changed when she found a passion for acting, thanks to a production of “Oklahoma!” in which her brother was a dancer.
The actress was also an author, releasing a collection of 280 recipes in a book titled “Alice’s Brady Bunch Cookbook” in 1994.
Her most recent reunion with her former “Brady” co-stars was in 2007 at the TV Land Awards.
Christopher Knight, who played one of the young Bradys, issued the following statement about his former co-star: “It is with sadness that I hear of the passing of Ann B. Davis. At the same time, it is with fondness that she will be remembered. As with perhaps all of America, I smile when I think of Alice. Ann B. Davis was used by all of us Bradys (adults and kids) as the benchmark of professionalism and we are all better for having shared time working together. I will always remember Ann B as a much more complex and serious person than what her comedic roles would project. She was kind and caring but above all, she was an intensely private and contemplative person who balanced her self-respect with the respect she showed all those whom she came in contact with. She will both be missed and loved forever.”
SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard issued the following statement about Davis: “Ann was a comic wonder, and her iconic character on ‘The Brady Bunch’ continues to live on for generations to enjoy. We are grateful to Ann for the five years she selflessly served her fellow members as an elected member of the board of this union.”