BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The ranch-style house perched in a quiet Los Angeles suburb is almost as famous as the White House. Its memorable frontage served as the picture-perfect image of the home of the six Brady kids from the popular sitcom "The Brady Bunch."
But the actors who played the siblings never set foot in the house. It was all for show. "We had no recollection of it," says Christopher Knight, who portrayed the clumsy Peter.
"I mean, it was placed as an establishing shot into the show I didn't know where it was and nobody worked there. And I don't think anyone else, during the period the show was being filmed, knew where this house was."
The interior of the residence featured a prominent staircase and an upstairs attic. But Susan Olsen, who played the youngest Brady, Cindy, questioned the shot featuring the Brady home.
"I was a very literal child and I looked at that house and thought to myself, 'No way. That could never be the set. It's a one-story house.'"
She queried the producers about it. "They said, 'I'll have you know that if you walk into that house, it looks exactly like this set.'"
But the interior of the house in Studio City didn't look anything like the one on TV. And almost 50 years later, TV is rectifying that with HGTV's new series, "A Very Brady Renovation," premiering Monday.
The kids — all grown up now — are refurbishing the house with the help of some of HGTV's prominent handymen and women to render it an exact replica of the set.
"I had such an affinity for this house just because it's weird," says Maureen McCormick, who played the oldest Brady daughter, Marcia. "But in some sort of way, I'm a fan of it just like America And when I was told that I could be a part of this and that they were going to really let us demolish things and then rebuild them, I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, the chance of a lifetime.'"
"I think it was more exciting for me to return to the house this time on our first day of production than it was the first time I ever saw it," says Mike Lookinland, who portrayed the precocious Bobby. "I didn't even know where it was until 1990."
Some of the actors have experienced renovations of their own, including Knight, who built his own house. "Luckily we, I think all, had some money when we ended our days with 'The Brady Bunch,' and I put mine into real estate at the right time and then started doing — not flips initially — but just buying homes in the first stages of development That ultimately led to renovations," he says. "And I did my first, my only rental when I was like 24. I did it all myself with just a little help from my brother, and swore I'd never do it again."
Plumb and McCormick continued acting after "The Brady Bunch." Ten years ago Plumb, who played middle daughter Jan, moved to New York. "There's such a great amount of television production in Manhattan, I've been able to do episodes of HBO's 'Crashing,' 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,' as well as some regional theater around the country," she says.
McCormick has been featured in several independent films and has guest starred on a variety of TV shows. "I (have been) married to a wonderful man named Michael for 33 years," she says.
Barry Williams, who played oldest son Greg, lives in Branson, Mo., and tours with his musical trio, Barry Williams and the Traveliers. "I am the ambassador and spokesperson for the classic television network, MeTV," he says.
"I also make personal appearances in various venues, with sometimes a one-man show, an inspirational show and sometimes with cruise ships or comic-cons or the like. So, that's what fills up my schedule."
Olsen quit acting in her 20s and became a graphic designer and illustrator. "And oddly enough, I got talked into teaching acting for children, which I do. I've been doing it for the past six, seven years," she says.
She also hosts a weekly radio show. "And in my spare time, I'm also a single mother with a 22-year-old son who's the bass player in Xerolithia, the band, got to plug that," she chuckles.
As for Knight: "For the last number of years, I've been busy with this venture that exploded in success called Christopher Knight Home, which is an online furniture effort, where we sell furniture," he says. "And it's now extending itself into the Christopher Knight Collection, which is stuff that is not traditional furniture, but some in-home and some outside-of-home."
Lookinland has been running a small company for the past 14 years. "We make concrete countertops, of all things.
Tamron Hall Is All Talk
Come Monday Tamron Hall will host her own daytime talk show (like we need another talk show). Folks may remember her as a reporter on various assignments like "Dateline: NBC," "MSNBC Live" and "NewsNation with Tamron Hall," but when she left her last job on the "Today" show she didn't know what to do next.
So what do you do when your career stymies? You get married and have a baby. That's what Hall did at 48. "The IVF worked," she says, and she and husband Steven Greener have a son.
But the idea for a talk show came from an unusual source. "Originally it started with Harvey Weinstein," she says, "and we all know what happened there.
"And then Disney (the producers) reached out, and they believed. So the players, if you will, changed, but the game remained the same, which was the focus of bringing a traditional layered-daytime talk show."
(Luaine Lee is a California-based correspondent who covers entertainment for Tribune News Service.)