Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian Ann B. Davis was born on May 3, 1926, in Schenectady, New York. She won Emmys in 1958 and 1959 for her role as "Schultzy" on The Bob Cummings Show, but is best known for her role as the zany but loving housekeeper on the 1970s sitcom The Brady Bunch. Davis retired from show business in 1976 to live in an Episcopal community, now located near San Antonio, Texas. She died at the age of 88 on June 1, 2014.
A seasoned, Emmy Award-winning, comedic character actress best known for her role as the eternally wise and wise-cracking housekeeper Alice Nelson on The Brady Bunch, Ann Bradford Davis was born in Schenectady, New York, on May 3, 1926, to Cassius Miles and Harriet Davis. She had a twin sister, Harriet, and an older brother, Evans.
When she was just 3 years old, Davis moved with her family to Erie, Pennsylvania, where she attended Strong Vincent High School, graduating in 1944. She had planned to study medicine, but became interested in acting instead. She went on to earn a degree in drama and speech from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1948.
Schultzy on 'The Bob Cummings Show'
Ann B. Davis acted in local theater and toured with a variety of musicals until she was spotted by a casting director in 1955, for the role of Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz, the lovesick and outspoken assistant to photographer and womanizer Bob Collins, on The Bob Cummings Show. The series ran for four years and was later titled Love That Bob for syndication. Davis was nominated for Emmy Awards four times for her performance on the show, and won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her last two nominations, in 1958 and 1959.
In 1960, Davis was honored by the entertainment industry with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Alice on 'The Brady Bunch'
In 1969, Davis was cast as the flip and funny live-in housekeeper and peacekeeper Alice Nelson on a new family sitcom, The Brady Bunch, starring Florence Henderson and Robert Reed as the parents of a blended family. Davis often stole the scenes and got the biggest laughs while mediating family disputes with her friendly but sarcastic words of wisdom.
Throughout most of the show, Davis's character, Alice, dated Sam the Butcher (Sam Franklin), played by Allan Melvin. The Brady Bunch aired 117 episodes, running until 1974, followed by reunion shows, TV movies and spin-offs. In the Brady Bunch sequels, Alice eventually married her bowling-loving butcher, but in real life, Davis never married nor was linked romantically to anyone.
Davis's other television credits include The John Forsythe Show, Wagon Train, The Dating Game, Love, American Style and The Love Boat.
While on hiatus from The Brady Bunch, Davis had no trouble finding work in regional theater, starring in Once Upon a Mattress and Auntie Mame, among other productions. She toured Southeast Asia with the United Service Organizations and, in the mid-1990s, appeared on Broadway in Crazy for You, featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin.
In 1961, Davis appeared in the movie Lover Come Back, a romantic comedy, with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Her other film credits from this period include A Man Called Peter (1955), Pepe (1960) and All Hands on Deck (1961). Davis took her Brady Bunch persona with her for a brief appearance in Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult in 1994, and revived her Schultzy role as a truck driver in 1995's The Brady Bunch Movie.
Later Years & Death
In 1976, Davis quit show business for the most part and became a born-again Christian, attending the Episcopal School for Ministry and joining a religious community in Denver, Colorado, that later relocated near San Antonio, Texas. Although she retired, the actress continued to make occasional TV and film appearances.
In 1994, Davis published Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook, a compilation of recipes with dishes such as "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia Muffins" and "Groovy Old-Fashioned Pancakes."
Although reportedly in good health, Davis fell in her bathroom and hit her head on June 1, 2014. She suffered a subdural hematoma and passed away later that day at the age of 88.
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