As TV’s Marcia Brady, Maureen McCormick found herself enveloped in the world’s most supportive and normal families imaginable. Sadly, her bizarre real-life family was not even fit for family viewing.
1. She Had Family Problems
Maureen McCormick’s real-life family had issues. There was mental illness, an unstable father, and a family secret just waiting to burst any semblance of normalcy McCormick had. Landing the role of Marcia on The Brady Bunch at least let her believe in a family for the five short years the series ran. But sadly, even her fictional family would turn on her.
2. She Was A Beautiful Child
After having three boys, Irene and Richard McCormick were likely overjoyed to welcome a baby girl into their lives on August 5, 1956. Baby Maureen turned the family into a group of six, and they all lived together in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Mom and Dad knew they had a beautiful girl on their hands, and they wasted no time showing her off.
3. She Was Eye-Catching
When she was only six years old, Maureen McCormick got her first real taste of celebrity while competing in the San Fernando Valley Beauty Pageant. She snagged the top prize—but that wasn't the best part. She also caught the eye of a talent agent who saw something more in little McCormick than just a pageant winner: He saw a star.
4. She Was Eco-Minded
In 1964—when McCormick was eight years old—her agent got her a spot in a national commercial. This was for the toy maker Mattel, and it was actually McCormick who introduced Mattel’s new recycling program for Barbies. In the spot, McCormick asked audiences: “But what do I do with my old Barbie?”
After appearing in a commercial, the next stop was an obvious one: TV sitcoms.
5. She Got Around
In the late 1960s, Maureen McCormick managed to get two different parts in the hit ABC sitcom Bewitched. She played a child witch in Samantha’s husband’s nightmare—Little Endora. But that wasn't all. It wasn’t surprising when more guest spots followed on shows like I Dream of Jeannie and My Three Sons. Young McCormick was busy, and she was about to get busier.
6. She Was Chatty
Eventually, the toy company Mattel came calling again, and this time it wasn’t for a commercial. They were revamping their Chatty Cathy doll and they wanted her to have a new voice. Enter: Maureen McCormick. Now McCormick’s voice could be heard in children’s bedrooms across the country saying things like, “please take me with you” and “I hurt myself”.
Of course, voicing a doll was not the endgame here. McCormick’s agent wanted her to be a star.
7. She Nailed It
While being the voice of Chatty Cathy was a pretty big gig, Maureen McCormick was soon on to something much, much bigger. In 1969, hit sitcom Gilligan’s Island creator Sherwood Schwartz was creating a show about something new: a blended family. The plot centered around the marriage of a man with three sons, and a woman with three daughters.
Schwartz had to find six child actors to fill the roles of the kids, and he wasn’t just fooling around. In total, he interviewed 264 hopefuls. At age 12, McCormick nailed her audition and got the role of the oldest daughter: Marcia Brady. It was a role that would follow her—for better or for worse—for the rest of her life.
8. They Were In A Grid
Right from the beginning, The Brady Bunch seemed to be something special—and I mean from the actual beginning of the show. A filmmaker from Canada had come up with a new effect where he could place the Brady family members' heads in a three by three grid. McCormick appeared in the top left position in what they would later call “the Brady Bunch effect”.
With a modern show opener and a catchy song, The Brady Bunch was ready to be a huge success.
9. They Fought
Having six children on a TV show was a handful for the writers, producers, and crew. Once Maureen McCormick and her screen sister Eve Plumb started squabbling on set, the writers took a cue from the real life kids. From this, they decided that the two sisters would have an ongoing feud—as many sisters do in real life. But what was behind the arguments between McCormick and Plumb?
Something not as wholesome as the squeaky clean show.
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10. She Got An Eyeful
Maureen McCormick had a list of complaints about her costar Eve Plumb. Apparently, she had a flatulation problem and also liked to walk around sans clothes. Well, one of the times McCormick saw Plumb in her birthday suit, she got an eyeful. From that day forward, McCormick became envious of what she’d seen: Plumb’s shapely chest.
Besides the feud between McCormick and Plumb, other issues arose out of working with child actors.
11. She Had An Accident
In 1973, McCormick had a minor car accident and showed up on set with a very visible nose injury. The writers had to jump into action and create an episode that explained the nose injury. This became the 1973 episode, "The Subject of Noses," which later became one of the most referenced episodes of The Brady Bunch of all time.
There was just something about the way that football hit Marcia in the nose, and her subsequent scream: “Oh my nose!” that audiences just couldn't forget. In fact, there are still countless memes and GIFs of the occasion.
Another problem on The Brady Bunch set? Raging adolescent hormones.
12. He Was Her Brother
One behind-the-scenes incident the writers couldn’t use on the show was the budding romance between Maureen McCormick and the boy who played her brother Greg. Both McCormick and Barry Williams—who played Greg—have both confirmed that they embarked upon a passionate fling. They even got physical on the set.
13. They Tore Their Clothes Off
There was undeniable tension between McCormick and Williams. One day, while they were in Williams' dressing room, they went at it, desperately trying to get the clothes off each other. A knock on the door stopped them from going further. Besides playing brother and sister on a show, there was another reason why this romance was inappropriate.
Williams had an awkward crush of his own: on his own TV step mom. Yuck! The crushes, however, didn’t stop there.
14. She Was Inappropriate
In her memoir, Here's The Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, McCormick admits that she had a crush on someone else besides the guy playing her brother. This crush was top secret as the object of her affection was Robert Reed: the actor playing her dad. I guess it hadn’t yet occurred to McCormick that Reed was gay.
And speaking of gay, what about that other rumor?
15. She Ran Her Mouth
Maureen McCormick may or may not have had a third crush while filming The Brady Bunch. Many years later, when McCormick was promoting her memoir, she told a radio show audience that she and Eve Plumb had a little romance of their own. McCormick later said that it was a joke—and, in my mind anyway, it seemed like a way to get publicity for her book.
Plumb, on the other hand, didn’t think the joke was funny at all.
16. It Made Her Mad
Plumb didn’t say anything about her alleged fling with McCormick, but something she did made it seem like she was angry. When Oprah Winfrey wanted to stage a full-on Brady Bunch reunion, Plumb gave the queen of daytime TV a huge thumbs down—the only one of the cast to do so.
McCormick blogged that she assumed Plumb was mad about the rumor about their affair. According to Plumb’s people, the only problem was that Oprah didn’t call. We can excuse McCormick for being a typical teenager with inappropriate crushes—but what we can’t excuse her for is her singing career.
17. She Had A Musical Side
Besides being a TV sensation, The Brady Bunch also crossed over into the music industry. The TV family actually released four albums and did an extensive tour, which gave McCormick more time to play tonsil hockey with her dreamy co-star Williams. It wasn’t, in fact, Williams that she sang the most with.
It was her on-screen younger brother, Christopher Knight. The two released an album together, which should have won an award for the most uncreative title ever: Chris Knight and Maureen McCormick.
The Brady Bunch was certainly a successful phenomenon, or was it?
18. Audiences Loved Her
While everyone seems to have fond memories about The Brady Bunch, the ratings for the show weren’t actually all that great. So why is the show still loved by millions? It was the reruns that made The Brady Bunch an iconic TV show and McCormick into a celebrity. In fact, since it went into syndication, it has been on a TV somewhere in the US every day since 1975.
Now, how was McCormick going to deal with that kind of fame?
19. She Partied Hollywood Style
By 1975, The Brady Bunch was no longer America’s favorite family. McCormick was 19 years old, rich and famous. What could go wrong? To be blunt: everything went wrong.
Of course, she started partying hard in Hollywood and that led her down the dangerous road of drug use. Everything was going up her nose. So, besides childhood fame, was there something else that made McCormick go off the deep end?
20. They Didn’t Compare
After being immersed in what some would say was the perfect family, McCormick—now liberated from The Brady Bunch—took a moment to look at her real-life family…and it wasn’t so perfect. McCormick’s mother suffered from mental illness and one of her brother’s did too.
To make matters worse, her father suddenly found religion in his life which made the family atmosphere a little strained. And then she discovered her family’s deep, dark secret.
21. Her Family Had A Disturbing Secret
At some point in her life, Maureen McCormick found out the truth about her grandmother and the reason for her passing. Apparently her grandmother was in a mental institution and suffering from a case of syphilis. And it just gets worse.
It turns out that grandmother had passed on the disease to her daughter: McCormick’s own mother. McCormick couldn’t deal with the drastic difference between her real-life family and her fictional one. Her constant partying was her way of coping—but the consequences were severe.
22. She Was Desperate
Well, McCormick’s money eventually ran out, but her need for her substance of choice did not. It drove her to do the unthinkable. Desperate to pay her her dealer, McCormick gave him the only thing she had—her body. As it turned out, McCormick was sleeping with more men than just her dealer.
23. She Gave Them Up
During her partying era, McCormick hooked up with countless men—and it led to some deeply devastating decisions. Between the ages of 18 and 20, she ended a pregnancy three separate times. Later, McCormick blamed her drug use for her reckless past and even called herself "careless".
However, she ended up paying the ultimate price for her wild and damaging youth.
24. He Was High
The morning after one of her hard nights of partying, McCormick woke up and remembered she had a rather important meeting: It was with Steven Spielberg. She hadn’t slept, had been high for days, and still managed to show up for the audition for Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Instead of giving her a part, Spielberg saw the shape she was in and gave her an orange instead. I guess he thought she needed vitamin C.
25. She Was Self-Destructive
Obviously, she didn’t get the part from Spielberg, and there were rumors that another producer had given her the “you’ll never work in this town again” line. Well, McCormick did work again. She got roles on TV shows like Happy Days, Donny & Marie, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island.
In spite of all this work, McCormick kept up her self-destructive behavior. You have to ask yourself: Didn’t she want more serious acting work? The answer is, yes.
26. She Was Too Clean
Well, if Maureen McComick wanted more serious work, there was nothing around more serious than Midnight Express. This was a film about a smuggler who ends up in a Turkish prison and has a harrowing ordeal.
According to McCormick, she tried out for the role of a dealer in the film, but all the director could see was Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. There was no role in Midnight Express for someone with a squeaky clean image like McCormick's. At this point, McCormick seemed to give up on having a serious acting career. Her next job was the nail in her career coffin.
27. She Didn’t Make It
Maybe losing the role in Midnight Express made McCormick long for the easy days of being Marcia Brady. At least that would explain her acceptance of a role in her next project. The Brady Girls Get Married was a TV movie in 1981 about…well, the title says it all.
Yes, McCormick was Marcia once again, but the actress had changed. During the filming of the movie, she was still using, but trying to keep it together. When she didn’t show up for work one day, the producers quickly grew suspicious.
28. She Couldn't Drive
It soon became clear that because of McCormick’s addiction, she was in no position to be acting in a movie. They had, however, already started filming. The producers had to reign McCormick in, and they did it in a strange way.
They wrote up a whole bunch of rules for McCormick’s behavior and one was that she could no longer use her car. McCormick survived the movie and moved on to something new: romance!
29. She Found A Guy
Even though Maureen McCormick fought her demons with drug use, she was still thinking about settling down with someone nice. One day while at a concert, a stranger caught her eye and she decided that he was the man for her. It didn’t hurt that he had wavy dark hair, a nice body, and sculpted features.
She instantly knew that she wanted to marry him. Now all she had to do was convince him that she was wife material.
30. She Did Her Research
McCormick says that she needed to find out as much about Michael Cummings as she could. She found out that he was a church goer, so she started attending the same church and even the same bible studies. Once she got to know him, she invited him to a party. (I think it’s safe to assume that she didn’t bring the church-going Cummings to one of her substance-fueled all-nighters).
The two started dating and McCormick opened up about the troubles in her life...and then those troubles came back to haunt her.
31. He Was An Angel
While she was dating Cummings, McCormick relapsed. Luckily for her, Cummings was a bit of an angel and not one to walk away from a challenge. Instead of leaving her to deal with her issues by herself, he stood by her. Even though McCormick had not fully given up her addictions, the two tied the knot on March 16, 1985.
Somehow, being Marcia Brady even managed to disrupt their wedding night.
32. They Celebrated Together
McCormick and Cummings had decided to wait for their marriage before they slept together. At the wedding party, McCormick suddenly became very tense about sharing her bed with her new husband. To put off the inevitable, she invited her TV brothers and sisters to join them in their honeymoon suite.
I bet Cummings was a little unsure about what he had signed up for. It was his wedding night, and there was an entire bed full of Bradys all guzzling champagne. The wedding was over, but McCormick still needed help.
33. He Was Dangerous
The first years of McCormick's marriage to Cummings were difficult. She went through interventions, visits to rehab, and some controversial therapies. One such therapy was with Eugene Landy, who had become famous for treating celebrities with all kinds of issues.
His most famous client was probably Beach Boy member Brian Wilson, but that had ended with Wilson getting a restraining order against his therapist. Another famous client was Gig Young, who committed the murder of his wife and then took his own life. What was McCormick getting herself into?
34. She Went Deeper
Maureen McCormick was trying to kick her drug habit, but Landy quickly put her back on meds. During her time with Landy, McCormick said that she didn’t know if she was "going or coming". Ultimately, it sent her into a deeper depression than she’d ever been in before.
McCormick soon got rid of Landy and decided to just quit the old fashioned way: one day at a time. Miraculously, it worked, but when she was finally sober, she realized she still had other issues to deal with.
35. She Went Back
While all this was going on, McCormick was still working. In 1987, she appeared in Return to Horror High. This was a low budget, comedy, slasher film that was mostly unremarkable except for one thing: It was also the debut of a hot young actor named George Clooney.
The next year, McCormick did an about face and returned to her role of Marcia Brady in A Very Brady Christmas. Almost all of the original cast showed up for this one. Being a Brady was a dependable money maker, and it was coming back for more.
36. She Was Missing
The next incarnation of the Brady family was a TV show that would be part comedy and part drama. Once again, The Bradys would feature all of the original cast except for one. This time it was McCormick that was missing. She had a good reason though: She’d just given birth to her daughter.
Yes, McCormick and Cummings had a daughter in May of 1989, and they named her Natalie Michelle. Missing The Bradys, however, was not a bad move for McCormick: They canceled it after just one month. McCormick was now a wife and a mother. Surely her troubles were behind her: well…not quite.
37. She Almost Jumped
Yes, Maureen McCormick was substance free, but she found that she still suffered from depression and even from paranoia. There was one harrowing moment where she and her husband were standing on a balcony. To Cummings’ amazement and horror, McCormick got ready to take a leap over the edge.
Cummings managed to stop her from ending her life, but this was a much needed wake-up call for the actress. She had to face the facts: She needed to be on medication. Her doctor prescribed her Prozac and luckily it seemed to work.
38. She Went Country
After a guest appearance on the sitcom Herman’s Head—where she played herself—McCormick realized that the small screen was not quite big enough for her talent. She moved on to Broadway where she appeared in Grease as Rizzo. Since she was singing on Broadway, McCormick decided to also do an album. Luckily, her brother had a recording label.
McCormick’s country album was When You Get a Little Lonely and she released it in 1995. McCormick had to be very clear with her brother and the recording company: Under no circumstances was this album to have any association with The Brady Bunch. She didn’t quite get what she wanted.
39. She Was Furious
Nothing on the cover or liner notes of McCormick’s country music album had any reference to The Brady Bunch. When the album went on sale, however, there was a sticker attached to the cover that said “Marcia Marcia Marcia”.
McCormick was furious and later found out that a public relations company had put the sticker there. So much for breaking free from the Bradys. To make matters worse, the album received mostly negative reviews. One thing good did come out of this country music experiment: a chance at a juicy film role.
40. She Was Still Marcia
In 1997, there was a made-for-TV movie in the works that would tell the story of the country singer, Barbara Mandrell. McCormick was up for the role, but Mandrell herself wanted someone else . She wanted another icon of television: Jennie Garth of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame.
The problem for Mandrell was that when she looked at McCormick, she just saw Marcia Brady. The producers somehow convinced Mandrell that McCormick was the way to go. McCormick hadn’t done much acting for a long time. Could she pull off Mandrell?
41. She Was Weak
Mandrell ended up being happy about McCormick’s acting. The critics, on the other hand, not so much. While Get to the Heart: The Barbara Mandrell Story did have almost 20 million viewers, it wasn’t a critical success. The complaint was that the film glossed over much of Mandrell’s life—but there was also a problem with McCormick.
Critics called her performance “weak” and that she didn’t have the “electric personality” that Mandrell had. Following her disappointing turn as Mandrell, McCormick disappeared for a short while. She wasn’t licking her wounds, however, she was dealing with a huge family issue.
42. She Had A Family Squabble
Maureen McCormick had disappeared into a family squabble that needed her full attention. In 2007, she went on Dr Phil to let everyone know what was going on. It turned out she had a problem with her brother Kevin.
In McCormick’s eyes, Kevin was trying to separate her father from the rest of the kids. And why was he doing this? He wanted his father's money. This problem took its toll on McCormick’s mental health. When her mother passed, things went from bad to worse. Among other things, these family issues caused McCormick to gain some unwanted weight.
43. It Was A Record Loss
Instead of paying someone to help her lose weight, McCormick got clever. She signed up to be on a weight loss reality show called Celebrity Fit Club. While appearing on the show, McCormick set a record for the largest percentage of weight loss on the series: almost 23%.
She narrowly edged out RuPaul’s Drag Race regular Ross Mathews. McCormick seemed to like the reality TV milieu and saw no reason not to dive into another one.
44. She Won…Sort Of
McCormick seemed to enjoy her stint on reality TV and was soon on the small screen again. This was Gone Country, where contestants compete for a country music recording contract. While she didn’t win the contract, she won something maybe better: her own reality TV series.
This was Outsiders Inn, which follows McCormick opening up a Bed & Breakfast in Tennessee. It seemed that McCormick had re-igniting her career—and she loved not being Marcia Brady.
45. She Got Nasty
In 2009, Maureen McCormick made the surprising choice to participate in the not-very-wholesome Comedy Central’s celebrity roast. McCormick used her struggles with addiction to make fun of celebrities like Larry the Cable Guy and Toby Keith, and certainly shed her good girl image. They even had to bleep out a few naughty words.
Surprisingly, McCormick held her own alongside the other comedians on the show. In short, she slayed.
46. She Went Down
In 2015, someone from down under gave McCormick a call. The pitch was for her to be a contestant on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! In the show, she would compete with other “celebrities”—mostly athletes, presenters and reality TV stars—in the jungle...without some of life's greatest necessities. McCormick instantly signed up and flew to Australia.
47. She Dropped Some News
While appearing on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! McCormick decided to nonchalantly mention something stunning: that she’d dated Michael Jackson. Of course her teammates went wild with the news and pushed for more details.
When McCormick mentioned that she and Jackson had only held hands and kissed on the cheek, the news seemed a little less exciting. There was, however, some drama that happened after the show completed.
48. She Made A Bond
McCormick lasted on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! a respectable 42 days which put her in fourth place. While she was on the show, she made a special connection with the Australian comedian, Joel Creasey. After the show, she and Creasey went out on the town in Los Angeles.
Creasey took her to a gay bar, where they played pool and drank quite a bit. McCormick made it home okay, but there was trouble waiting for her.
49. He Grounded Her
McCormick’s husband was not happy to see his addiction-prone wife coming home inebriated. Cummings quickly shifted the blame to Creasey, but it didn’t stop there. Cummings apparently thought that all the contestants on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! were a bad influence on his wife.
This led him to ban her from seeing any of them. Getting grounded sounds oh so Brady-esque. Well, in some ways, McCormick will always be that teenage girl.
50. She’ll Always Be Marcia
Maureen McCormick continues to pursue reality TV experiences that have a tie-in to her iconic role as Marcia Brady. She two-stepped to The Brady Bunch theme song with Artem Chigvintsev on Dancing with the Stars. Then she got together with her TV brothers and sisters on A Very Brady Renovation.
One thing is certainly clear about McCormick: Whether she likes it or not, she’ll always be Marcia Marcia Marica.