One of the juicy rumours that sometimes popped up at dinner parties in the 1990s concerned the off-set relationship between the Brady family’s oldest son Greg (Barry Williams) and his TV mum Carol (Florence Henderson).
The chatter was always that 16 year old actor Williams actually dated Henderson, who was 36 during the second season of the TV show in 1970.
Henderson, who died of heart failure in Los Angeles on Thursday, was an public icon of American motherhood.
However, over the last two decades she was too often forced to bat off the rumour in countless interviews.
It was a weird fable that jarred the minds of many young adults who had been raised on the Brady family’s diet of pristine goodness.
The source of the speculation was a 1992 book written by Williams titled Growing Up Brady: I Was A Teenage Greg.
Williams titled one of the chapters “Dating Your Mum” in which he described going on a dinner “date” with Henderson, with whom he was besotted:
“When those little things called hormones start kicking in, you get excited by even inanimate objects. It wasn’t that I sought to bed her. I just wanted to spend time with her.”
Although Williams made it clear that he and Henderson came nowhere near romance, the chapter title was enough to stoke an international legend about their relationship.
Even Henderson’s official website still carries an explanation about the night she agreed to go out with Williams.
“That whole thing with Barry got blown way out of proportion,” Henderson wrote on her website.
“I guess in a sense it was a date, because Barry thought it was. But of course, I had no idea that his intentions were to “date” me. It has made for a good story though!”
It seems that Greg was not the only teenage boy with an interest in Henderson in the 1970s.
In an interview with Closer Weekly magazine in 2014, she revealed soon after her 80th birthday that many men in their 40s were still hitting on her for dates.
“I have a website and I get a lot of offers from guys in their 40s who’d love to date me,” she said.
The real lives of the Brady crew
While Henderson handled her public profile as every American’s proxy mom with grace and humour, the off-screen lives of the Brady family members seem a long way from the sweet perfection portrayed in the series.
Here’s a rundown of what’s happened to the other cast members:
Mike Brady (Dad) – Played by actor Robert Reed who died in 1991 from colon cancer and HIV complications.
Greg Brady – Actor Barry Williams lifted the lid on his drug problems in his 1992 book and said he was high on pot during the filming of the following scene from the series:
Marcia – In 2008 Maureen McCormick revealed in her biography that she had fought a long battle against cocaine addiction. She dated pop star Michael Jackson before the drug habit took hold.
Jan – The middle sister, played by Eve Plumb, is in good health and makes a living from painting still life.
Peter – Christopher Knight became a successful computer products developer in the 1980s and returned to acting in 1995.
Cindy – The youngest of the bunch played by Susan Olsen who last year admitted to growing large quantities of marijuana with her ex-husband.
Bobby – Mike Lookinland returned to his Mormon roots in Salt Lake City after leaving acting in 1990. He now makes concrete.