Ann B. Davis, best remembered for her portrayal as the slightly ditzy, yet always cheerful and earnest housekeeper “Alice” on TV’s The Brady Bunch, has died from a subdural hematoma after falling in her bathroom and hitting her head, according to CNN. The network reported that her close friend Bishop William Frey confirmed her death, in which he noted that Davis “never regained consciousness” after hitting her head. She was 88.
As Alice on The Brady Bunch, Ann B. Davis acted as judge, jury, and the rock within the sea of comedic madness which usually borderlined more on the ridiculous than the sublime. With her main flame Sam the Butcher usually in tow, scores of young viewers watched her get involved in almost every predicament that befell the family, with the six kids and in early seasons a dog. From trips to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon, to slapstick and sitcom-styled situations, Davis acted through all of it with a bright, punchy demeanor, usually decked in a light blue housekeeper outfit replete with an apron that never had a stain on it, yet the house was always in order, even though one nary saw Alice doing any actual housework.
After the hit show ended its original run in 1974, Davis was always on hand to reprise the role in the various retread incarnations of the show, via TV movies, Variety Specials, and a dramatic version of the family, entitled The Brady’s. All of these projects were met with varying success. Davis is now the second member of the show to pass away, after Robert Reed, who played the patriarch of the household Mike Brady, died in 1992.
The actress, who was born in Schenectady, NY and has an identical twin sister, was also well known for her work during the 1950s on the sitcom The Bob Cummings Show, in which she played a character affectionately known by the nickname of “Schultzy.” The role netted her an Emmy award for her work. One of Davis’ final screen appearances was a cameo in the 1995 big screen adaptation of the Brady Bunch, entitled, The Brady Bunch Movie, in which she played a truck driver named, of all things, “Schultzy.”
Davis, who was reportedly in good health before her death, leaves behind a legacy of pop culture with her role as Alice the Maid to countless fans across the country who spanned generations and have a special place reserved for The Brady Bunch and how it affected their youth, with Ann B. Davis being a huge part of that universal affection.
RIP Ann B. Davis
May 5, 1926 – June 1, 2014