‘Brady Bunch’ kids giving TV home a ‘A Very Brady Renovation’ | TribLIVE.com

‘Brady Bunch’ kids giving TV home a ‘A Very Brady Renovation’

From left: Members of “The Brady Bunch” cast Maureen McCormick, Eve Plumb, Susan Olsen, Mike Lookinland, Christopher Knight and Barry Williams participate in HGTV’s “A Very Brady Renovation” panel on July 25 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia on “The Brady Bunch,” participates in HGTV’s “A Very Brady Renovation” panel on July 25 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The ranch-style house perched in a quiet Los Angeles suburb is almost as famous as the White House. Its memorable frontage served as the picture-perfect image of the home of the six Brady kids from the popular sitcom “The Brady Bunch.”

But the actors who played the siblings never set foot in the house. It was all for show.

“We had no recollection of it,” says Christopher Knight, who portrayed the clumsy Peter. “I mean, it was placed as an establishing shot into the show … I didn’t know where it was and nobody worked there. And I don’t think anyone else, during the period the show was being filmed, knew where this house was.”

The interior of the residence featured a prominent staircase and an upstairs attic. But Susan Olsen, who played the youngest Brady, Cindy, questioned the shot featuring the Brady home.

“I was a very literal child and I looked at that house and thought to myself, ‘No way. That could never be the set. It’s a one-story house.’”

She queried the producers about it. “They said, ‘I’ll have you know that if you walk into that house, it looks exactly like this set.’”

Exact replica

But the interior of the house in Studio City didn’t look anything like the one on TV. And almost 50 years later, TV is rectifying that with HGTV’s new series, “A Very Brady Renovation,” premiering Sept. 9.

The kids — all grown up now — are refurbishing the house with the help of some of HGTV’s prominent handymen and women to render it an exact replica of the set.

“I had such an affinity for this house just because it’s weird,” says Maureen McCormick, who played the oldest Brady daughter, Marcia. “But in some sort of way, I’m a fan of it just like America … And when I was told that I could be a part of this and that they were going to really let us demolish things and then rebuild them, I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, the chance of a lifetime.’”

“I think it was more exciting for me to return to the house this time on our first day of production than it was the first time I ever saw it,” says Mike Lookinland, who portrayed the precocious Bobby. “I didn’t even know where it was until 1990.”

Some of the actors have experienced renovations of their own, including Knight, who built his own house.

“Luckily we, I think all, had some money when we ended our days with ‘The Brady Bunch,’ and I put mine into real estate at the right time and then started doing — not flips initially — but just buying homes in the first stages of development … That ultimately led to renovations,” he says. “And I did my first, my only rental, when I was like 24. I did it all myself with just a little help from my brother, and swore I’d never do it again.”

More acting

Plumb and McCormick continued acting after “The Brady Bunch.” Ten years ago Plumb, who played middle daughter Jan, moved to New York.

“There’s such a great amount of television production in Manhattan, I’ve been able to do episodes of HBO’s ‘Crashing,’ ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,’ as well as some regional theater around the country,” she says.

McCormick has been featured in several independent films and has guest starred on a variety of TV shows.

“I (have been) married to a wonderful man named Michael for 33 years,” she says. “We have a daughter named Natalie. And she’s actually gotten into the real estate business and is loving escrow and has her real estate license … When my parents passed away, I have a brother with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and his name is Denny.

“And my family and I have tried to devote a lot of time to giving him the best life possible,” she says. “I’m very involved with Best Buddies. Love my home and my family and friends.”

MeTV ambassador

Barry Williams, who played oldest son Greg, lives in Branson, Mo., and tours with his musical trio, Barry Williams and the Traveliers.

“I am the ambassador and spokesperson for the classic television network, MeTV,” he says. “I also make personal appearances in various venues, with sometimes a one-man show, an inspirational show, and sometimes with cruise ships or comic cons or the like. So, that’s what fills up my schedule.”

Olsen quit acting in her 20s and became a graphic designer and illustrator. “And oddly enough, I got talked into teaching acting for children, which I do. I’ve been doing it for the past six, seven years,” she says.

She also hosts a weekly radio show.

“And in my spare time, I’m also a single mother with a 22-year-old son who’s the bass player in Xerolithia, the band, got to plug that,” she chuckles.

‘I want to retire’

As for Knight: “For the last number of years, I’ve been busy with this venture that exploded in success called Christopher Knight Home, which is an online furniture effort, where we sell furniture,” he says. “And it’s now extending itself into the Christopher Knight Collection, which is stuff that is not traditional furniture, but some in-home and some outside-of-home.”

Lookinland has been running a small company for the past 14 years.

“We make concrete counter tops, of all things. We make fireplace fascia and stair treads and fancy architectural concrete stuff … . I live in Salt Lake City.

“HGTV came and spent a whole day with me for their digital content … We were plugging my concrete business pretty hard — and halfway through I was thinking, ‘Man, I don’t know about this, because what I really want do is retire.’”

Categories: AandE | Movies TV
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