Maureen Denise McCormick, an American actress, singer, and author, essayed Marcia Brady’s role on the popular sitcom ‘The Brady Bunch.’ The sitcom ran successfully from 1969 to 1974, and McCormick went on to reprise the role several times in the form of Brady Brunch spin-offs and films, including ‘The Brady Kids,’ ‘The Brady Bunch Hour,’ ‘The Brady Brides,’ and ‘A Very Brady Christmas.’ However, having portrayed the close-to-perfect character for five seasons, McCormick was, at a point in time, desperate to dissociate herself from the iconic character when the series came to an end in 1974.
Created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz, this TV series aired from September 1969 to March 1974. However, the show brought its share of trials and tribulations for the actor. Though the role made her a household name, it ironically had a negative impact on her life and career!
McCormick’s Urge to Move on From the Iconic Character
By the time the show forayed into its fifth season, McCormick, along with her fellow teenage co-stars, were fed up with the stale storyline. Maureen McCormick had herself confessed in one of her books that they wanted more mature scripts. No wonder the show was not renewed for another year.
By that time, McCormick and even the other actors of the show were looking for greener pastures! She went on to say that she was thrilled by the anticipation of new prospects. In her mind, she was completely ready to move on.
Did the Show Cost Her a Tad Too Much?
Did you know ‘The Brady Bunch’ cost Maureen McCormick a meaty role in ‘Midnight Express’, the ground-breaking neo-noir drama released in 1978? McCormick had auditioned for the role of Susan, the protagonist’s girlfriend, but the role was a stark contrast to her character in ‘The Brady Bunch.’ According to her memoir, the first reading had gone well, and she was also called back several times.
With her chances looking brighter by the day, she was looking forward to playing such a terrific, multi-layered part. However, the role was eventually given to Irene Miracle, who received a Golden Globe nomination for the same!
Curse of The Brady Bunch Role
Maureen McCormick was told that she lost out on the role due to her iconic portrayal of Marcia Brady. Ironic, right? The makers felt she was so closely identified with that character that it will overshadow her as Susan in ‘Midnight Express.’
The producers and director Alan Parker thought that the audiences wouldn’t be able to accept the much-familiar Marcia Brady in a movie about drugs. Now that’s a tight spot for sure! McCormick soon started feeling that the saccharine show was distancing her from meatier roles.
The Final Breakthrough Moment
Till that point, McCormick was resenting her role in ‘The Brady Bunch;’ soon, she started fearing Marcia might ‘haunt’ her for the rest of her life! She started hating her and was desperately wishing to break free. Eventually, Maureen McCormick got a role in the film ‘Take Down,’ which was not as interesting as ‘Midnight Express,’ but still came as a breakthrough for her. As McCormick puts it, the film had its share of moving ad inspirational moments, and she had a decent part in it.
From on-Screen Brother to off-Screen Lover
The show The Brady Bunch was centered around the day-to-day lives of the Bradys. The main characters include Mike Brady (played by Robert Reed), his wife, Carol Martin (played by Florence Henderson), and their children Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher King), and Bobby (Mike Lookinland). Carol is also shown to have three daughters, Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Jan (Eve Plumb), and Cindy (Susan Olsen).
The exciting part is, Williams and McCormick were dating each other. Her 2008 memoir ‘Here’s The Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice’ has her saying that at that time, she was amazed at the realization that she was kissing her brother!
Addiction and Personal Struggles
Following her sporadic romance with Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick fell prey to years of addiction to cocaine and quaaludes. She also mentioned that in her early twenties, she had even traded sex for drugs. McCormick slowly started earning a poor reputation in the industry, with one producer going as far as to threaten her that she would never work as an actress again. This phase also saw her dealing with depression and bulimia.
Saturated by the Sweet and Wholesome Marcia
When ‘The Brady Bunch’ started airing, Maureen McCormick was only 14. She had admitted that playing the sweet and wholesome Marcia led her into anxiety issues and insecurities in her personal life. McCormick felt as if she was hiding from the realities of her life under Marcia Brady’s guise.
The unreal perfection started overwhelming her, and not in a good way. Finally, in the mid-sixties, she came to terms with her Brady character.
At present, Maureen McCormick is hosting a show for HGTV, ‘Frozen in Time,’ where she has teamed up with designer Dan Vickery to renovate homes. Are you excited to see her now or do you still miss Marcia Brady?