If you’re a fan of The Brady Bunch, you’ll remember Marcia Brady played by actress Maureen McCormick. Marcia Brady seemed like the perfect member of the family, and one that every young American girl could aspire to.
But here’s the kicker: she hated playing Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch. By the fifth season of the show, she felt that the scripts had gotten stale. She felt that Marcia Brady wasn’t maturing as a character.
She’d lost interest in the role and was eager to take on new roles following the show. But many key players in show business couldn’t see Maureen McCormick as anyone but Marcia Brady!
This took its toll on her career and her personal life. But this isn’t some sob story. Maureen McCormick’s story is one of triumph and determination.
Let’s look at how she felt about Marcia Brady and her extraordinary life and career…
The Brady Bunch was one of America’s greatest sitcoms. It’s an American treasure and at the time it influenced popular culture. Today, it’s part of the nostalgia that reminds us of a simpler time in the country.
One of the most notable characters in the show was young Marcia Brady played by Maureen McCormick. Marcia Brady was the example of the “perfect” young American girl whom we all grew to love.
Yet, like many roles – they end up defining the actor or actress who plays them. In other words, they can stifle the performer’s career.
This is what Maureen McCormick felt about Marcia Brady. Not only had she gotten tired of the role, but she began to worry that it would affect her career.
Maureen McCormick had gotten tired of being seen as Marcia Brady. Even though this was the role that brought her fame, she was afraid that the role might define her career.
She knew that she could get typecast or that she could lose out on roles because casting agents and audiences alike wouldn’t see her as anyone but Marcia Brady!
Her premonition came true when she missed out on a great role in a great film…
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When The Brady Bunch cancelled after the fifth season, it came as a shock to many cast members. But Maureen McCormick had been preparing for this cancellation for some time. She was eager to move on to new roles. She was also eager to break out of the silver screen and try her luck with the big screen!
Maureen auditioned for a role in the film Midnight Express. This film based on the true story of American Billy Hayes who got arrested for smuggling drugs out of Turkey. The screenplay written by Oliver Stone and was to be directed by Alan Parker.
Needless to say, this was going to be a great film. Maureen auditioned for the role of the girlfriend of the main character, played by Brad Davis. She was really excited about the role and felt that her auditions went well.
She recalls in her memoir: “Each time, my chances looked better and better. For any actress, it was a terrific part: multi-layered, demanding and transformative. For me, it was also an opportunity to redefine myself as an actress.”
Unfortunately, Maureen McCormick didn’t land the role. The role played by Irene Miracle. To add salt to the wounds, Irene Miracle received a Golden Globe nomination for her role and Midnight Express did become a huge hit!
This took its toll on Maureen. She felt let down that she hadn’t landed the part for this incredible role. She realized that Marcia Brady had held her back.
In fact, she later learned that the producers and the director felt that audiences would hate to see Marcia Brady in a serious crime film that dealt with drug dealers!
Maureen’s biggest fear had come true. No one saw her as Maureen McCormick. They only saw her as Marcia Brady.
She began to resent her work on The Brady Bunch. As this was a family-friendly show, it would prevent her from taking on more serious roles. She’d forever seen as the “goody two-shoes” Marcia Brady – incapable of appearing in such serious films such as Midnight Express!
She later recalled that she felt haunted by Marcia Brady. She worried that the role would be with her forever and that she’d never get serious work as an actress.
While fans loved Maureen McCormick’s performance as Marcia Brady, she began to hate the character. It didn’t stop her from finding work after The Brady Bunch, but there was a lingering fear that she’d never escape the role.
She had a supporting role in the film Take Down and had bit parts in television shows and television films. While she loved her work in Take Down, overall, she wasn’t able to fulfill her career ambitions. She wasn’t getting any meaningful roles and still couldn’t completely escape Marcia Brady.
In fact, it was after working on The Brady Bunch that Maureen McCormick was becoming addicted to drugs. Her drug addiction had become so serious that it hurt her reputation in the entertainment industry. She auditioned for Raiders of the Lost Ark while under the influence of cocaine.
Naturally, she didn’t land the part and Raiders of the Lost Ark became a huge hit. As with Midnight Express, she lost out on a great part. Except this time, it wasn’t because she was only seen as Marcia Brady. It was because she had become unreliable.
She did get bit parts in television shows and films and occasional Brady Bunch reunions and spin-offs – often to her chagrin.
Her drug addiction was getting worse, and she wanted to turn her life around. With help from her husband, Michael Cummings, she was able to eventually kick her drug habit. But she still had many challenges in both her personal life and her career.
She decided she needed to become more public about her life’s struggles. Maureen knew that this might bring stigma to her. She knew that this might jeopardize her career.
But she also knew that she could save lives. She began telling harrowing stories of her addiction to drugs. Maureen recalled how she would trade sex for drugs. She discussed how an older man gave her drugs at the Playboy Mansion. This was in exchange for being able to videotape her naked.
She encouraged others to fight against their drug habits and to look after their health. When her TV mom Florence Henderson passed away from heart disease, Maureen McCormick began spreading awareness of the importance of looking after cardiovascular health.
She also began to make peace with Marcia Brady and known as Maureen McCormick. She did receive bit parts in television shows and a few independent films. While these weren’t the meatiest roles that she once craved, it didn’t bother her.
She published her memoir in 2008, in which she discussed how Marcia Brady haunted her. But since then, she’s continued to act as Marcia Brady in reunions and spin-offs – this time, not to her chagrin!
She also appeared in many reality TV shows, ranging from Dr. Phil to Gone Country to Dancing With The Stars.
In fact, she’s now the star of her own reality show called Frozen In Time. This is a show where she visits homes and gives them a much-needed makeover. While she’s seen as Marcia Brady by many, she’s now trying to push being seen as Maureen McCormick – who has her own interesting personality and one that’s completely different from Marcia Brady.
Nevertheless, we expect that she’ll continue to discuss Marcia Brady and act as her in any spinoff show or movie.
Maureen McCormick’s life story is one of making peace and making the best of your situation. She is one of many talented performers who defined by one role that they took. This typecasting has haunted many actors and actresses and have ruined their lives.
The resentment that many performers have to their typecast role lingers with them and prevents them from moving on with their lives. This is especially true of child stars who are seldom able to continue their careers when they become adults.
This has been true of Gary Coleman and Dana Plato who weren’t able to move on from their roles in Diff’rent Strokes and had troubled lives. Many other child stars don’t even attempt to continue their acting careers and disappear from public life altogether.
We’ve seen the rare few who have managed to continue living fulfilled lives following their careers as child stars. We’re glad that Maureen McCormick has been one of these stories.
When we look back at her earlier life, we see someone who felt haunted by a character she had become fed up with. We see someone who let drugs and depression take their toll on her personal life.
But in later years, we see someone who has overcome hurdles and has made peace with her past. Hers is a story of triumph and one that we can all learn from.
We wish Maureen McCormick well and are eager to see the success of her new show and her future projects…
Are you a fan of Maureen McCormick? Do you think that she was able to break out of the Marcia Brady role? Or will audiences always remember her as the young teenager from The Brady Bunch?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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