Actress Ann B. Davis, devoted 'Brady Bunch' housekeeper, dies

Sun Jun 1, 2014 7:24pm EDT
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By Will Dunham

(Reuters) - Comic actress Ann B. Davis, who played the devoted housekeeper Alice on the television sitcom "The Brady Bunch" and won two Emmy awards as the forever-single secretary Schultzy on "The Bob Cummings Show," died on Sunday at age 88, CNN reported.

Davis fell and hit her head on Saturday morning, CNN reported, citing a close friend of Davis, Bishop William Frey.

She suffered a subdural hematoma and never regained consciousness, Frey told CNN.

Davis' character helped keep a large, blended family functioning on "The Brady Bunch" by offering advice and wisecracks to busy parents and frantic kids, or simply by making meatloaf for eight. She was known for her light blue housekeeper's uniform with a white apron.

Behind the scenes, Davis provided a model of acting professionalism to the show's six child actors, who on occasion were driven more by hormones and mischief than reason.

The "Brady Bunch" was among the first U.S. television shows to focus on a non-traditional family. Robert Reed's character, architect Mike Brady, was a widowed father of three boys. Florence Henderson's character Carol Brady was a single mother - the show was vague as to why - who had three daughters. They get married in the first episode in September 1969.

The series made its debut amid cultural tumult in the United States but remained invariably cheery and avoided controversy during its five seasons on the ABC network. It ran during a TV era populated by caustic sitcoms like "All in the Family," "Maude" and "Sanford and Son."

In 1994, Davis wrote of the wholesome "The Brady Bunch": "Wouldn't we all love to have belonged to a perfect family, with brothers and sisters to lean on and where every problem is solved in 23-1/2 minutes?"   Continued...

Cast members of the television series 'The Brady Bunch' (L-R) Florence Henderson, Susan Olsen, Ann B. Davis, Maureen McCormick, producer Lloyd Schwartz, Christopher Knight and Barry Williams accept the TV Land Pop Culture Award during the taping of the 5th Annual TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, California April 14, 2007.   REUTERS/Fred Prouser