How The Brady Bunch cast remembered Florence Henderson and Robert Reed in HGTV renovation series
It's been 45 years since The Brady Bunch aired its final episode, and the six actors — who were just children when the popular series debuted in 1969 — have reunited with a very special mission: to renovate the inside of the Los Angeles home whose facade was used to represent the Brady home on TV.
HGTV bought the residence in 2018 and later announced they'd be gutting it and renovating it for a new series, A Very Brady Renovation, with a little help from Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Eve Plumb, Christopher Knight, Susan Olsen, and Mike Lookinland.
"Our audience always had this idea that we worked at the real house while shooting the series," Knight, who played middle son Peter Brady, told EW at the A Very Brady Renovation premiere. "I never realized that. They didn't know that the inside of the house was built out on a set. We only used a picture of this house on the show. But I learned through this process how this house was a portal to our audience. Now we've been able to bring it all into complete focus."
It was an emotional experience for the small-screen siblings to make the Brady Bunch home into something tangible, especially since the actors who portrayed their on-screen parents, Florence Henderson and Robert Reed, died in 2016 and 1992, respectively.
Ann B. Davis, who played their live-in housekeeper Alice, also passed away in 2014.
"We remembered them every day," Plumb, who played Jan Brady, said. "We had scenes with them in every room. As we went back and forth during the remodel looking at old scenes, they were there with us."
Knight added, "We couldn't sit at the dining room table without recognizing there are a few people missing. Standing on those famous stairs to take a photo, you could just feel those who were missing. Even just walking into the front door of the house, we remembered Bob walking in saying, 'Hi honey, I'm home.' I think we all rationalized that they were there with us in their own way."
McCormick, who played oldest daughter Marcia, loved getting her hands dirty throughout the process. Williams, who brought oldest son Greg to life, admired McCormick's handling of a jackhammer.
"I'm so grateful we got to be part of the actual process," Williams said. "We picked up hammers, a Skilsaw, and in Maureen's case, a jackhammer. She chased me all around the living room with it!"
McCormick added, "This was really a dream come true for so many reasons. I love demo and after this, I should be called the demo queen. In my real life, I work with my hands a lot doing a lot of different things. But mainly, because we all got to get together again after not being together in about 15 years or more, it was emotional for me that not everyone could be here with us for this," she continued. "These are all people that I love and admire. Florence, Bob, and Annie taught me a lot about life that I carry with me each and every day. Doing this remodel made me miss them so much."
Working on the show also inspired the cast to think about where their respective characters would be today. And according to Olsen, who played youngest daughter Cindy, they may not even all still be alive!
"Cindy died in a tragic cheerleading accident," Olsen suggested.
Lookinland, who played young Bobby, said, " I think he'd be sailing a boat somewhere in the South Pacific today."
McCormick said of Marcia, "I think she'd be remodeling homes all over the country and doing a lot with her hands like me."
As for Greg, Williams thought, "He'd be riding down Route 66, where I actually live."
Plumb stuck with canon when deciding Jan's fate: "In Brady Brides she became an architect, so I think I'll stick to that."
While Knight shared, "I think Peter probably was working in high-tech somewhere like I was."
HGTV has yet to decide the fate of the home now that it's been remodeled to look like the second most famous house in the United States. But the one thing that fans should not expect is for the six actors to move in and star in a spin-off reality series featuring them living under the same roof.
"There was so much joy for us doing the remodel, I don't think we need to take it there. It could be the portal to hell," Knight laughed.
Plumb agreed. "That would be a horror show! Living together? No thanks. I love them all, but no."
A Very Brady Renovation premieres on Sept. 9 with an extended 90-minute episode starting at 9 p.m.