Barry Williams hit the pause button to be back for A Very Brady Christmas

The family may have all aged, but their chemistry was as familiar as the original days of The Brady Bunch.

Image credit: The Everett Collection

As a teenager, Barry Williams was the ultimate heartthrob. He would receive more than 800 fan letters per week  — some were from boys who looked up to his Brady Bunch character — the rest were from girls who wanted to date him.

Almost 20 years after he played the role of Greg Brady on The Brady Bunch, Williams had a career in both theater, Broadway, and television by the late '80s.

While he may not have been the 19-year-old heartthrob he once was, he still was loved by many women who followed his career even after Greg Brady hung up his cleats. 

With a Broadway tour for Romance, Romance being put on pause for him to reunite with his Brady family, Williams took a break from everything current to return to what started it all. 

In a 1988 interview with the Kennebec Journal, Williams said he was excited to join his former onscreen siblings for A Very Brady Christmas. He remembered the past to prepare for his role of Greg Brady once again. 

"When you've only got one childhood, you don't know if you're missing a normal one or not," Williams 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."

The series ran on ABC for a total of five seasons, monopolizing most of Williams' teenage years. After his time on The Brady Bunch, Williams had to fight against typecasting. According to the interview, he said he was still thought of as a teenager even after turning 21.

"I decided I wouldn't use The Brady Bunch to work against me, and I wouldn't use it to work for me," Williams said. "I just had it as a credit, one part of my career. It was like starting over again."

Despite his typecasting concerns, Williams got many jobs after The Brady Bunch. You can't be one of the country's biggest heartthrobs and not stay in people's minds.

In 2023, Williams was a guest on Dancing with the Stars, where he proved he still had a little bit of Greg Brady's youth in him. The Brady Bunch may not have had new episodes since the '70s, but the reruns live on forever. However, Williams compared the reruns to "home movies" and said he didn't watch them. He knows what happens by the end anyway.

According to the interview, A Very Brady Christmas was considered natural and inevitable because TV viewers at the time wanted more nostalgic content. Before he agreed to do the film, he asked to see the script. With a nod of approval, he was back.

"It was a good experience, working with people I like a lot," Williams said. "I'm glad we're doing a reunion because it somehow kind of legitimizes all of those early years. It almost makes them current. I can go my whole life and never do another Brady Bunch episode and it will be okay because Greg has a kid and he's a doctor and he's married. It answers the question 'Whatever happened to Greg Brady?'"

Robert Reed had gone gray, Cindy Brady no longer had her signature curls and Ann B. Nelson had aged quite a bit by A Very Brady Christmas, yet it still felt like home for both viewers and Williams.

In the special, the Brady family tackled their traditional and many familiar family issues, but there was nothing that couldn't be cured by sage advice from Reed or a Christmas carol by Florence Henderson.

"I hope the audience will be pleased," Williams said in a 1988 interview with The San Francisco Examiner. "There aren't any real surprises. Our show never was much in the business of surprises, but I think they'll be pleased. It sounds like boasting, but I was struck by what a handsome family we are. We didn't turn up any uglies."

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15 Comments

Bradybunch2020 1 month ago
I absolutely loved this show and find it easy to remember the episodes as they were always centered around one of the kids as an individual or collectively as a group ie (silver platters episode). Several episodes evolved around Alice as well or the family as a whole ie sorry , right number / pay phone episode or save woodland Park where Mike had to find an alternative site for a city building.) Anyway, the show brings comfort each and every Sunday and I never miss it on ME TV. BTW, My RV has 2 scenes of Marcia and Jan on my back window from the silver platters episode, so if you see me on the interstate and you are behind me, enjoy the moment that comes with seeing Maureen and Eve. P.S. I would love to meet them both someday soon , do they ever have public appearances? I have so many questions for both, would enjoy lunch and conversation , especially Maureen after reading her book and seeing how her family issues are very similar to mine. I would love to write a book about all the other actors adults and kids that were part of the show as well throughout the series, like Pam Ferdyn as Lucy Winters, she was the voice of Lucy of Peanuts/ Charlie Brown. One of my favorite episodes was watching Jans' friend Carrie Hathaway coming to the house and being introduced to Peter, the Cyrano episode. Now, it's the 50th anniversary of the final season #5 in 1974. The Brady Bunch never gets old, I see something new every time.
bradyguy Bradybunch2020 1 month ago
I LOVED Pam(elyn) even more than Maureen! That voice was adorable - but I'm more of a Fern Arable (from Charlotte's Web) guy than I am a Lucy Van Pelt guy...

But if you're talking other child actors, you might have mentioned that Kerry (SP, btw) Hathaway was played by the once-cute and soon-to-be gorgeous Kym Karath from the Sound of Music. (Which, incidentally, completes Part 1 of the long-form trivia essay question - "Complete the BB/Sound of Music Connection"...still two parts left though...have at it!!)
jrussell 2 months ago
I was born in 1967. When I was in grade school - mid 70s - the show was on every afternoon. I have seen it often since then. It was always sort of "comforting" like home. I think the cast members who are still alive are "rock gods", if you will. They are legends, really. Just a wonderful show with an awesome cast, in my opinion.
KirwoodDerby 2 months ago
Here’s a guy who hasn’t worked steadily since 1974 and can’t let go of his youth because he’s really not very talented. He thinks he’s a singer and he left his wife and daughter to go prove that he’s still viable as his imaginary character from 50, yes 50 years ago.
I truly can’t stand that this guy keeps getting invited to these events based solely on something he did as a teenager 50 years ago.
jrussell KirwoodDerby 2 months ago
That sounds mean and cynical. Wow, heavy!
bradyguy KirwoodDerby 1 month ago
Relax, Francis.
Jon 2 months ago
Ann B. Nelson?
jrussell Jon 2 months ago
Haha! Alice Nelson=Ann B. Davis
harlow1313 2 months ago
It is interesting to consider the way different personality types react to this series. I suspect much has to do with your age the first time you watched.

Additionally, Cousin Oliver was a groovy dude. Very groovy.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 2 months ago
Hadn't really considered personality types as there are so many of them. But considering the show originally aired 1969-1974 and let's say 10 years old for an age one first watched. Would think the world has changed in so many ways since then, that the views might be different by what age but also what year one first watched the series.
harlow1313 LoveMETV22 2 months ago
I believe I would have been thirteen when it premiered. I always considered it painfully corny. I understand that others have a warm connection to the show. Had I been only eight when it premiered, I might have seen the show differently.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 2 months ago
I just see it as as a show of that time, parts of it were corny but suppose it was entertaining to some back in that 1969-1974 time span. However a 13 year old of 1969 might have a different opinion than say the same age in 1980. Guess the same might be true for an 8 yr old. There's no right or wrong on the opinion side, some will like it, some may not.
Bapa1 harlow1313 2 months ago
I was eleven when it came on, I never cared for it. My little sister who was seven, loved it. And idolized Cindy
bradyguy harlow1313 1 month ago
Of course, you're right. Our age had a LOT to do with it. I was only 4 when the BB premiered. We saw it as the first show REALLY for us...remember, even Sesame Street was still TWO MONTHS AWAY! The Brady Bunch was funny...silly...and so were the kids. They had fun and so did we....we had no idea that our older selves would discover MASH, and Taxi, Cheers, Friends, etc. Our tastes were simple....and the BB was a sweet little treat every Friday night.

Was it the "greatest" show ever? Nobody (except my 5-year-old self) would ever say that! The lack of true ratings success clearly states that it was not.

But I will defend the BB with my core (hence the screenname) for EXACTLY what it was - a simple family sitcom that provided us joy and laughter for its initial five years, and fond memories for nearly another 50 after that.
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