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Maureen McCormick As Marcia Brady: TV Perfection, Problems IRL

Entertainment | October 30, 2017

Maureen McCormick on 'The Brady Bunch' (1969-74), and in a publicity photo for 'The Brady Bunch Variety Hour' (1976-77). Source: IMDB; ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

Blonde bombshell Maureen McCormick of Brady Bunch fame is known to a generation of TV viewers as Marcia Brady, the eldest daughter in the Brady family. Every family, especially a blended one with six children, should have been so lucky to have children who minded their manners, did their chores and learned from their mistakes; all with the loving guidance of two perfect parents.  But the real life Maureen McCormick bore little resemblance to Marcia Brady. The TV babe was often miffed about typical high school problems, and there was little doubt on the show that she was exceptionally pretty. McCormick dealt with darker stuff -- she had some serious issues that even being Marcia Brady couldn't fix.

Marcia was portrayed as the quintessential all-American girl. Marcia Brady spewed unwavering, pristine morals and values. Every teenaged girl in America wanted to be Marcia! Off camera, though, all bets were off! Maureen McCormick, in real life, was nowhere close to being as confident as Marcia.

Maureen McCormick Suffered From Depression And An Eating Disorder

McCormick, who was 14 years old when The Brady Bunch first aired in 1969, harbored plenty of secrets that would have sent her television parents over the edge! While her on-stage image was of the girl next door, she secretly battled insecurities and poor body image, which led to depression, an eating disorder and drug addiction. She was so caught up in how the world perceived her character that she didn’t want anyone to know that she was dying inside. Maureen McCormick finally got the courage to face her fears head on but not before she spiraled out of control in self-destructive mode. She found the courage to tell her private story in a book, Maureen McCormick: Here’s the Story. In her own words: 

As a teenager, I had no idea that few people are everything they present to the outside world. Yet there I was, hiding the reality of my life behind the unreal perfection of Marcia Brady. ... No one suspected the fear that gnawed at me.

Maureen McCormick Partied Too Much

The inner struggle McCormick suffered left her wracked with bouts of depression and substance abuse, including taking Quaaludes and binging on cocaine. She was often invited to parties at the homes of other celebrities where the drugs were free flowing. Parties at the Playboy Mansion and Sammy Davis, Jr.’s house were just a couple of the places she was surrounded by all of the partying. It was difficult to socialize in that circle and not be tempted or affected. McCormick, once botched an interview with Steven Spielberg, for a role in Raiders of the Lost Ark because she was wasted. 

Marcia Had The Hots For Greg

At one point, McCormick had steamy, off-screen romance with her television brother, Greg (played by Barry Williams), while the show was still airing. She described her first kiss with Williams as "long, passionate and deep." Although she was hot for him, she also thought to herself, "part of me — a tiny part, admittedly — said to myself, 'Oh my God! I'm kissing my brother. What am I doing?'" Despite this momentary hiccup, she was so infatuated with him that she was hoping to go all the way. At the time she was still a virgin and wanted Williams to be her first! She almost got her way but, wouldn’t you know it…? His parents busted in on them and that was the end of that. They were very “handsy” and just couldn’t stay away from each other. You had to wonder, while watching the show, what would Mike and Carol Brady have done if they had found one of their horny, television, teen-aged boys groping one of their television sisters. They were only human, after all.  

McCormick Had Little Luck Dating Celebrities

Michael Jackson was also among the flings McCormick had while she was on The Brady Bunch; he was still performing with The Jackson 5. This relationship, however, was much more innocent. They only went on a few dates; one time going ice-skating. They never did more than hold hands and share a peck on the cheek but she had thought that one day, she might be his wife. You almost have to wonder if they struck up a friendship because they both suffered some the same insecurities.

McCormick also went out with the hilarious Steve Martin, once; somewhat of an unlikely couple. She said that she remembers him being a “very good kisser.” Besides that, she didn’t remember much else. She was so high on their date that she couldn’t carry on an intelligible conversation. Not surprisingly, that was their first and their last date.  

Everybody Thinks Of Her As Marcia, And She's OK With That (Now)

After a series of interventions and trips to rehab, Maureen McCormick finally got herself clean and chipped away at all the pain she had suffered for decades. In the end, she was able to overcome all those monkeys on her back. One of her biggest struggles was that she felt to be synonymous with her character, Marcia Brady; like they were one and the same. It was difficult for her to grasp the fact that America was so connected to her character. Now, however, she says that she is just fine with it. She has reached a place of peace and acceptance of herself.

Tags: Career-Defining Moments | Marcia Brady | Maureen McCormick | Rare Facts And Stories About History | The 1970s | TV In The 1970s

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.