Ann B. Davis, the actress who brought to life beloved housekeeper Alice on “The Brady Bunch,” and who died this weekend at age 88, has inspired numerous fond remembrances since news of her passing was first announced.
One of the most touching tributes to the late actress comes from another Alice: Henriette Mantel, the woman who donned the character’s iconic blue uniform in 1995’s “The Brady Bunch Movie” and its 1996 follow-up, “A Very Brady Sequel.”
In an essay for Yahoo! Movies, Mantel wrote that she was at first stunned to see her own photo accompanying some of Davis’ obituaries, then angered that anyone would confuse her with such an acting legend. (“Have you no respect for Brady fans all over the world?” Mantel recalled thinking when she discovered the mix-up.)
Mantel then detailed the day she met Davis, on the set of the first “Brady” movie, in which Davis had a small cameo. Though the two actresses didn’t share any scenes together, Mantel was able to meet Davis during filming, an experience the former actress said was surreal, and “a half-hour I will never forget.”
[Davis] said how lucky she felt that she could wear a uniform every day and all the others had to go through elaborate costuming. Boy did I agree. We discussed how neither one of us was a cook, neither one of us had kids, neither had a butcher boyfriend named Sam and let’s face it, who has housekeepers that look like us?
But then she told me of how over the years thousands of people had told her what she meant to them. She said it always touched her heart to know that she might have brought up kids all over the country in her own way. She beamed at the thought of kids learning from her. I prayed I could do the character of Alice justice and with it, keep the deep sense of humor we had in common.
Mantel’s account is sweet and thoughtful, and worth reading in full. Check it out at Yahoo! Movies, and feel free to share your own remembrances of Davis in the comments here.