After The Brady Bunch, Barry Williams refused to do auditions, and it taught him a valuable lesson
Being rebellious as a teen is one thing, but for Barry Williams, this stage in life affected his career in his mid-20s.
While many teens experience life and can make mistakes and learn from them, child stars are treated as if they can't. If they do, critics and the media call them "rebellious" or "out of control." Barry Williams, primarily known as Greg Brady in The Brady Bunch, didn't get a chance to act like a teenager until he was in his twenties.
In an interview with the Associated Press in 1988, Williams said he didn't have time to rebel when he was a teenager because of his status at the time. "When you've only got one childhood, you don't know if you're missing a normal one or not," he revealed. "I think being a teenager is a fate akin to illness. It's a very difficult period, any way you cut it."
Williams added that his problems started a little later. He said, "In my own life, I found that I went through my own teenage rebellion in my mid-20s, because I had to be so serious and responsible as a teenager. I didn't have time to rebel."
Being rebellious included a lot of personal decisions, and for Williams, that affected his career. He was already typecast in the industry because of The Brady Bunch, but to make matters worse, the actor didn't want to audition for roles because he felt like his previous credits were enough to secure a part in a production.
"I didn't understand why I had to audition," the actor said. "After all, I had credits [and had been working for a long time.] It's a very arrogant attitude, ludicrous in this business. I was back on the proving block again, and I didn't feel that I was supposed to prove myself."
Williams was able to get a few roles here and there, but he needed more to survive. He borrowed money and even sold his house. "I was dipping into the well."
When he realized how much this mindset affected his career, the actor knew it was time for a change. "What I did was change my attitude. I came to realize that refusing to audition was kind of an excuse for not really putting myself back on the line."
Williams decided not to use The Brady Bunch for or against him, it was just a credit, and he was starting over.
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Barry to me could never do wrong.Some actors have to read and others not so much.It had to be hard to deal with that at a young age.Barry is still so handsome.He could sing, dance and act.Love You Barry!
Give him credit for accepting a very mature attitude!
It was also a different time - Outside of legendary/evergreen performers like Lucille Ball or Mary Tyler Moore (and the odd near-constant casting of actors like Harry Morgan or Robert Urich) most actors didn't go right from starring in one show to starring in another like many do today. (See Ted Danson, Matthew Perry, etc.) Producers wanted new(er) faces in the 70s, and that's what they used. There's no reason whatsoever that Maureen or Eve couldn't have played any of the daughters on One Day At A Time, or Eight Is Enough. Although Hollywood WAS moving away a bit from the pretty young girl (Valerie Bertinelli excepted) to a bit more of a tomboy vibe with Kristy McNichol, Tatum O'Neal, Jodie Foster, McKenzie Phillips, and Erin Moran all finding great success.
Heck! Why not Maureen Mccormick as Princess Leia?? Yeah, I know the fanboys love Carrie Fisher…but imagine Mo in that gold space bikini. Ummm…SKYROCKETS, baby!!!
As for the boys – again, Barry Williams really should have been able to book a LOT more gigs with his looks, resume, and actual talent. But as the article suggests, he may have had a chip on his shoulder in not feeling like he had to audition. There’s no reason he couldn’t have played Bobby on Taxi (heck, he DID play Kenicke in Grease onstage after all…just like Taxi’s Jeff Conaway!) And while he may not been as cool as Fonzie or Barbarino, he certainly could have appeared in any of the daytime (or nighttime!) soaps during the late 70s/early 80s. He was a still a handsome, well-known heartthrob. But again…maybe they didn’t want a “Brady”. He turned his attention to musical theatre during that time until the Bradys came calling again…over….and over…
Despite numerous reports that Chris Knight didn’t really care that much about acting, he actually booked more TV and movie gigs than his on-screen older brother, and nearly as many as Maureen and Eve. Mike Lookinland only appeared on TV a couple of times during that period, most memorably on Little House On The Prairie. (Which is Part 1 of the three-part answer to one of my BB essay questions – “Complete the Brady Bunch/Little House on the Prairie connection”!)
And finally, poor Susan Olsen, despite being an adorable little girl, and a very pretty young teen (in the humble opinion of my pre-pubescent self…) did not do ONE acting job between 1970 and 1984 that wasn’t “Cindy Brady”. I, for one, would have loved to have seen her on The Facts of Life (Big sister Eve DID appear on TFOL!) , or pretty much anything else!
Their careers may not have turned out the way they wanted them to….but we will never stop loving the Brady Kids!
KEEP ON…you fabulous Silver Platters!
BTW, "Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg" is a good read for anyone who likes "The Brady Bunch".