America loves a family feud, so much so that "Family Feud" has remained a popular TV game show for the past 36 years (it was introduced back in 1976 by serial gameshow producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, but has since been exported to venues such as MGM casinos). So what if the "family" is entirely fictional, as in a television family?
For a number of years, there have been rumors of a family feud brewing between the two actresses that played the two oldest Brady sisters, notably Maureen McCormick who played Marcia Brady and Eve Plumb who played younger sister Jan Brady. I don't have to tell anyone who watched "The Brady Bunch" that Jan Brady had more than a few episodes featuring her trying to get out of Marcia Brady's shadow. One line describes that: "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia". In fact, the line was so memorable to Gen X viewers that in the 1996 feature film "A Very Brady Sequel" which creator and producer Sherwood Schwartz was involved in, featured a line from the daughter of Jan Brady's guidance counselor (played by drag queen RuPaul Charles) in which the African-American middle girl who was arguing with her sister said "Moesha, Moesha, Moesha" as a parody of Jan Brady's own line. That clip can be viewed below, or by visiting http://youtu.be/vhdXsPfweR8:
The rumors of the Brady girls' family feud are just that: rumors. Indeed, back in 1981, Maureen McCormick and Eve Plumb did co-star one of several sequels to "The Brady Bunch" entitled "The Brady Girls Get Married", which began as a 3-part made for television movie, but was later picked up as a sitcom entitled "The Brady Brides" which ran on NBC for one season. However, that was the last time the two co-starred together. In subsequent reunions produced by Sherwood Schwartz, the character of Jan Brady was either not featured, or recast with a different actress, hence the rumors began.
Sure, Eve Plumb appeared in an episode of "Fantasy Island", in much the same way as fellow cast members Florence Henderson, Maureen McCormick and others appeared on episodes of "The Love Boat", which were known as places where out-of-work actors, actresses, comedians and musicians could find temporary work. There were also occasional opportunities such as appearances on celebrity editions on gameshows or ABC's "Battle of the Network Stars", and there was an ill-fated variety show produced by Sid and Marty Krofft (best known for their wierd puppet-characters "H.R. Pufnstuf") but more permanent or serious work offers simply didn't really materialize for Eve or many of the other cast members. In spite of childhood celebrity, life as adults wasn't paved with riches for most of them.
By the 1990s, the rumor was presumed by many to be true, in large part, because Eve Plumb did not appear in many of the various Brady sequels. Then, in 1995, Eve Plumb appeared on the now-defunct UPN's (UPN was merged with the WB network to become the CW network) daytime talkshow Jenny Jones' in an episode on the subject of "Child Stars: Where Are They Now?". Not surprisingly, that clip can be found on YouTube, which I'm including below, or you may find it at http://youtu.be/t58bVuos3Hk:
Then, there was an effort to reunite the cast on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to commemorate the 40th Anniversary for "The Brady Bunch" in 2009 (we sometimes forget that "The Brady Bunch" actually began in 1969). Indeed, on August 31, 2009 Brady castmember Susan Olsen (who played Cindy Brady) appeared on NBC's Today Show to discuss "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour" which she called in a book she co-authored with Ted Nichelson entitled "Love to Love You Bradys" calling it "history's worst show". The book also discusses some of what took place behind the scenes, including drug abuse among cast members (although she tells the Today Show that she wouldn't mention it unless fellow castmember Maureen McCormick had already discussed that). It should also be noted that Eve Plumb did not appear on "The Brady Munch Variety Hour".
However, in fairness to Eve Plumb, she's carried Jan Brady around with her for a lifetime, and as all of her fellow Brady Bunch cast members have agreed, they did find themselves pretty much typecast thanks to Sherwood Schwartz's aggressive sales of the show in syndication back in the 1970s. They also didn't receive residual payments (as actors/actresses do today), or anything from home video/DVD sales. True, every child star deals with growing up as a child star and more than a few have "turned bad"). For the most part, the cast of "The Brady Bunch" have turned out pretty well in spite of the drug culture that existed in the entertainment business at that time.
Then, in 2008, following in the footsteps of fellow castmembers Barry Williams (who played Greg Brady) who published a book entitled "Growing Up Brady" in 2000, and then Christopher Knight (who played Peter Brady on "The Brady Bunch", and starred in a reality television show on VH1 known as "My Fair Brady" in 2009). Maureen McCormick released her own autobiography entitled "Here's the Story" in 2011 to some fanfare. In the book, she admits to many of her own issues, including her own drug abuse and an abortion. But, she also made joking references to a lesbian kiss with Eve Plumb on a television appearance (she claims on a late-night talkshow, see the clip below) which she discussed repeatedly promoting her own autobiography, which may have helped sell books, but didn't exactly make fellow castmate Eve Plumb happy.
Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) appeared on WGN in Chicago discussing her book, which can be seen below or at http://youtu.be/65WTPU1bUlQ:
Clearly, Maureen was joking about it, but in fairness to Eve Plumb, she wasn't benefitting from "Here's the Story" bestseller status. What's more, she's carried Jan Brady around for a lifetime, and as all of her fellow Brady castmembers have agreed, they did find themselves pretty much typecast thanks to Sherwood Schwartz's aggressive sales of the show in syndication back in the 1970s.
Fellow castmember Susan Olsen (a.k.a. Cindy Brady) put things in appropriate perspective in the following video which can be seen below, or at http://youtu.be/FdnMKzZICbA:
Basically, we have Cindy Brady putting the entire Brady Girls' family feud in perspective: Maureen made jokes that weren't very considerate of Eve, hence the "feud" is more about using another fellow castmember to push a book than it is about ill feelings of Jan Brady who was forever in older sister Marcia's shadow. In reality, the two worked together in the past and worked well together.
However, if there is anyone to "blame" for the fact that the two no longer regularly talk, it's not Eve Plumb, but Maureen McCormick, whose bestselling autobiography was heavily promoted. However, as Susan Olsen states, Eve Plumb isn't really mad at Maureen McCormick, she's just indifferent about their friendship.
I have already written about a potential Brady Bunch reboot in 2014 (see http://goo.gl/tE0ur for that post), but the reboot is focused mainly around Bobby Brady. Is there a possibility for the two oldest Brady sisters to patch things up? Certainly, but obviously, some things will need to be addressed before that happens. Perhaps that can happen in time for the 50th anniversary for "The Brady Bunch" in 2019? Stay tuned!