This "Brady Bunch" Star Was "Often Drunk" on Set, Reports Say
There was some not-so-wholesome behavior happening behind the scenes of the '70s sitcom.
Wholesome family sitcom The Brady Bunch may have seemed perfectly idyllic when we were watching it in the '70s, but behind the scenes, things weren't always so squeaky clean. Over the years, the cast and creative team of the beloved series have revealed long-standing feuds and on-set strife that sounds a lot more like a real family than the fictional one. One actor in particular has been singled out for difficult behavior—and that may have included some not very wholesome overindulging. Read on to learn more about the Brady Bunch star who was "often drunk" on set.
Robert Reed was notorious for being difficult while filming The Brady Bunch.
He played the doting father to six children on The Brady Bunch, but Robert Reed wasn't always a comforting presence on the set of the show. Over the years, members of production have spoken out about the challenges they sometimes faced when Reed was around. In a 2000 interview with ABC News, show creator Sherwood Schwartz said that his star was used to Shakespeare and looked down on the sitcom style of The Brady Bunch. "Television, in general was beneath him," Schwartz said.
"He wound up on a show that he didn't want to do in the first place, and it became more and more difficult for him," Schwartz added. "His idea of a show was based on the Encyclopedia Brittanica."
Because of that, Reed would often challenge lines and even argue about the plot lines of certain episodes. As Biography.com notes, the Brady Bunch dad left the series on less-than-positive terms, refusing to appear in what ended up being the show's last episode after expressing frustration with the script.
But that bad behavior apparently extended to excessive drinking on set.
While Reed's distaste for The Brady Bunch and curmudgeonly approach to the material has been well documented in the decades since the show was on the air, a 2019 book delved deeper into the actor's bad behavior. In The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch: How the Canceled Sitcom Became the Beloved Pop Culture Icon We Are Still Talking About Today, author Kimberly Potts reveals that Reed would get drunk during lunch breaks while filming, returning to set too inebriated to continue. According to the book, as reported by the Daily Mail, this all happened after the younger actors were off set.
While Potts writes that Reed's drunken behavior would also lead to angry outbursts, she contends that he was still a positive influence to the Brady Bunch kids. "He took his responsibility as the TV dad seriously," she said in a 2019 interview with the New York Post. "He famously took the kids on a trip to England because he wanted to expose them to culture and Shakespeare. He also famously gave them Super 8 cameras for Christmas. He wanted to help them the same as a father would."
Reed was unhappy for a number of reasons, including a secret he was harboring.
Some of the Brady Bunch cast and crew knew that Reed was gay, but it's not something anyone talked about at time—and certainly not anything Reed himself was comfortable with sharing. In the 2000 interview with ABC News, Reed's TV wife Florence Henderson said that being closeted made her co-star "an unhappy person."
"Here he was, the perfect father of this wonderful little family, a perfect husband," she said. "I think had Bob not been forced to live this double life, I think it would have dissipated a lot of that anger and frustration."
In the same interview, Barry Williams—who played oldest son Greg Brady—said that the subject of Reed's sexuality never came up. "Robert didn't want to go there," Williams said. "I don't think he talked about it with anyone. I just don't think it was a discussion. Period." But Williams also acknowledged that the truth coming out could have ended Reed's career—and The Brady Bunch.
But Reed may not have been the only actor who overindulged in alcohol.
In her book Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, actor Maureen McCormick reflected on her time playing perfect eldest daughter Marcia, and the struggles she faced after The Brady Bunch wrapped. She also shared scandalous stories, including one about a cruise she went on for the show.
"Eve and I shared a room," she wrote (via ShowBiz Cheat Sheet), referring to her TV sister Eve Plumb. "We drank rum and Cokes on board the ship, and once in Europe, we enjoyed wine." McCormick said they could have rebranded themselves as the "Boozy Bunch." Thankfully, the drinking didn't make its way back to set, though McCormick said that she and Plumb found other ways to break the rules.
"I rebelled quietly by taping a show without wearing a bra," she wrote. "I convinced Eve to go braless, too. It was also our subtle way of telling the producers we were too old for the same stuff."