Ann B. Davis, Who Played Alice on 'Brady Bunch,' Dies at 88

Illustration for article titled Ann B. Davis, Who Played Alice on 'Brady Bunch,' Dies at 88

Ann B. Davis, the woman who played Alice on The Brady Brunch died Sunday at a San Antonio, Texas hospital.

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According to CNN, her friend William Frey said Davis suffered a subdural hematoma after a fall in her bathroom on Saturday. She was taken to University Hospital, but never regained consciousness.

Davis was known to millions of television viewers as the housekeeper on the iconic show The Brady Bunch:

In a 2004 interview with the Archive of American Television, Davis described how she created the character.

"I made up a background story. I did have a twin sister, so I used that as a basis. ... I cared very much about this family. It was my family. It was close to my family as Alice would ever get. I would have died for any single one of them at any point," she said. "You know, they wrote me such gorgeous things to do, as the intermediary between the kids and the adults, and between the boys and the girls. And they gave me funny things to do."

Ann Bradford Davis was born in in Schenectady, New York in 1926, but grew up in Pennsylvania. She said she began to use her middle initial because "just plain Ann Davis goes by pretty fast."

She was stage-struck since the age of 6 when she and her twin sister, Harriet, earned $2 with their puppet show. She attended the University of Michigan, joking that she was a premed student "until I discovered chemistry."

She graduated in 1948 with a degree in theater and later joined a repertory theater in Erie, Pennsylvania. She told The Associated Press in 1993 that she got her big break while doing a cabaret act in Los Angeles, singing and telling jokes.

"Somebody said, 'Get your agent to call the new Bob Cummings show. They're looking for a funny lady.' Within three hours I had the job. That was January 1955. I had such fun with that show.

On "The Bob Cummings Show," (or"Love That Bob") she played Cummings's assistant Schultzy, a flirtatious photographer. But it was her role as Alice on The Brady Bunch show which cemented her legacy as part of television history. After the show ended, she dropped out of the limelight, choosing to live a quiet, religious life. She limited herself mostly to Brady Bunch related shows and specials (including her delightful cameo as a trucker in The Brady Bunch Movie with Shelly Long and Gary Cole.)

"I was born again," she told The Associated Press in 1993. "It happens to Episcopalians. Sometimes it doesn't hit you till you're 47 years old." "It changed my whole life for the better. ... I spent a lot of time giving Christian witness all over the country to church groups and stuff."

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Davis never married because, as she once said, she never found a man as interesting as your career. She had lived with Frey, a retired bishop, and his wife in Texas since 1976.

Frey, who knew Davis for 38 years, said fans often told her that they felt like they'd been raised by the character of Alice. "Look how well you turned out," she would reply.

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Image via AP Images.

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