Today as the nation learns of the death of beloved Ann B. Davis, housekeeper on The Brady Bunch, many are reflecting on the impact she had on the baby boomer generation. No cause of death was given but Fox News is reporting she had a fall letter San Antonio home Saturday before being taken to University Hospital where she died Sunday morning. The actress was 88 years old.
As a character actress Davis played Alice Nelson, the live-in housekeeper for Mike and Carol Brady. In the pilot episode from 1969, Alice had been housekeeper for Mike Brady prior to the two families coming together to form the Brady Bunch. During the five year run of the show Alice was a model employee for the Brady’s.
Like any good employee Alice was faithful to her supervisors and never overstepped her position by interfering with their authority. Instead, she would support them by helping the children to understand valuable lessons as they grew. This trait or hers was recognizable right from the start is a two families came together she never took sides favoring the boys that she had been raising for Mike Brady over the girl she had just come to know. Instead the merger of this bunch gave her the opportunity to show her worth as a housekeeper has now she had more work to do. Yet in no episode does she ask for a raise because of the larger size of the family/company.
Of course anytime to organizations come together there is a natural feeling in many employees of not belonging. Alice was no different. By the fourth episode Alice had developed the feeling she did not belong in a new organization. She decided to pack her bags and moved to Seattle to take care of her ailing aunt. The Bradys quickly made her realize her value and neither her nor the Bradys ever questioned her membership in the family again.
Her personal life never got in the way of the delivery of her services to the family. Even in later years that she developed a romantic interest was Sam the butcher, or care of the Bradys did not diminish.
The character actress shared these values in our personal life. She never pretended to be something she was not naturally. Instead she was her true self every day of her life.
"I know at least a couple hundred glamour gals who are starving in this town," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1955 according to ABC News today, the year the Cummings show began its four-year run. "I'd rather be myself and eating."
The ability to be yourself on the job is something that she attributed to God given talent.
"I think I'm lovable. That's the gift God gave me," Davis told The Associated Press in a 1993 interview. "I don't do anything to be lovable. I have no control."