The death of actress Ann. B. Davis has us all nostalgic for her days on the ’70s sitcom The Brady Bunch. Who can forget cheery live-in maid, Alice Nelson, greeting the six Brady kids with fresh baked cookies and milk after school? Or when the hapless housekeeper learned to ski on a haystack, or volunteered to be the guinea pig for the family’s carnival dunking booth?
Of course, in real life, Davis was actually nothing like her Brady Bunch alter ego. (And that’s not a bad thing!) Here are five things that might surprise you about the beloved late actress.
She didn’t cook
While Alice was known for her prize-winning strawberry preserves, pork chops and applesauce, and super special sweets (remember when she combined Peter’s three favorite desserts and came up with a Straw-Split-Fudge-Short?), Davis didn’t like to cook in real life. In a 1992 interview with People she said, “When it’s my turn in the house, we just eat out.” Still, she teamed up with Ron Newcomer and Diane Smolen for “Alice’s Brady Bunch Cookbook” in 1994, a spiral bound treasure that boasted recipes like “House of Cards Hamburgers” and “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia Muffins.”
She couldn’t relate to kids
Hard to believe that the woman who poignantly gave Jan (Eve Plumb) a special locket because was also a middle child once claimed that she “didn’t do well” with kids. Davis told People that while she got along with her pint-sized co-stars (“I had the boys hooking rugs and the girls doing needlepoint,” the avid knitter once said), she also revealed, “I basically don’t do that well with children, although my sister says I’m a great aunt.”
She had a twin sister
Speaking of her sister, that’d be her twin! That’s right, the actress who once did double duty playing Alice and her lookalike Army sergeant cousin Emma on the classic sitcom (in the 1972 episode “Sergeant Emma”) in fact had a real life twin named Harriet.
Check out a pic of the Davis sisters here.
She was cool enough to have a rock band named after her
Back in the early 1990s, a Michigan rock band named themselves Ann B. Davis after the Brady Bunch icon. Davis told the Chicago Sun-Times, “They actually sent me their record, but I didn’t have any machine to play it on. It’s obviously not music for my generation. It’s flattering, I guess. I’ve had dogs and jeeps named after me, so who knows what else people will come up with.”
She was a two-time Emmy winner
Before her Brady days, Davis was already an Emmy award winning actress. In the late 1950’s she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress two years in a row for her role as Schultzy on The Bob Cummings Show. (She even beat out I Love Lucy legend Vivian Vance!) And by 1960, Davis already had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Landing the coveted role of zany housekeeper Alice Nelson on The Brady Bunch was really just the icing on the cake.
See Ann B. Davis on The Bob Cummings Show at the 2:50 mark here.