by Ronald Sklar
Each and every one of us has early memories of Maureen McCormick, but one of her earliest memories was entering the Miss San Fernando Valley beauty contest at age seven. She remembers the delighted look on her parents’ faces as she took center stage in her bathing suit and sang “Getting to Know You.”
A more prophetic song could not have been selected for her. We got to know her all right.
Oh, brother, did we as a nation get to know her.
As the Brady legacy spread its loving tentacles across three generations, she became (and, at age 51, still is) one of the most recognizable faces in the world. Even before that, she appeared on episodic television playing this, that and the other thing, most notably on one classic episode of Bewitched, as Endora transformed into a child (“I got to fly!”).
And attention eBay shoppers: she was the voice of the Chatty Cathy doll (“I love you,” was one of the vocal selections when you pulled her string.).
She ultimately became associated with a fictional name, Marcia Brady, as well as that even more intensely fictional family, for five years and then some.
To this day, decades later, people still refer to that name when encountering her, and sometimes not even accidentally; more often than not, they say that first name three times in a row, as if it’s the first time she’s hearing it.
In the movie Dickie Roberts, Former Child Star, McCormick (playing herself in a cameo) exclaims, “But if one more person calls me Marcia, I’ll bust his f*ck*ng head.”
Did it feel good to say that, even if it was only addressed to the twelve people who saw that flick?
“IT DID!” she exclaims, but she holds no animosity toward the alter-ego that the world chose for her, not the hell letting go. Ever. Ever!
She says, “There are times in history where you get a group of people together and it’s magical. I think The Brady Bunch was just one of those magical times when everything just put into place. The people loved each other. You can tell that we had so much fun together and it showed. We were having so much fun which makes the audience have a lot of fun.”
As much as we want to complicate that story of a lovely lady, it’s really as simple as that. Besides, McCormick has carved out quite a beautiful post-Brady life for herself. She’s been married to the same man for decades, and has a daughter who wants to save the world.
“She wants to go to Africa,” McCormick says of her daughter, Natalie. “It’s really interesting. We’re leaving in about a half hour to go to Africa with a group called Children’s International. She wants to go to Africa and work with orphans, and she wants to save the world. They’ve been around since 1936 and we’ll be visiting the villages and doing a documentary and making a commercial to ask people to sponsor a child. It’s a great organization because once you make a commitment, you sponsor a kid from when they’re little up until when they are 18, so they get everything they need.”
That’s very Brady of her. As well, she has also done some not-so-Brady stuff for extra credit, including red-carpet coverage for Access Hollywood and her recent stint on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club.
Among other surprises about her, most people are shocked to learn that she is not model tall; in fact, she is only 5’3″, so extra pounds on that little frame really make a difference.
Losing weight seems to be just one more intensely personal thing she has done before the unblinking eyes of the nation, just like when she was going through puberty before our prying eyes.
On successfully losing the 34 pounds during her stint on the reality show, she says, “You have to really put your mind to it and your body to it. You can’t really do it without exercise. You can cut down on eating, but you’ve really got to do both. When I don’t do one or the other, I gain weight. It’s a cycle.”
Add to the cycle her love of country music, which included a stint on CMT’s Gone Country. It was so successful that it had spawned an upcoming spinoff, in which she will play a part. Emphasis on the play.
She’s a little bit country, to say the least. She raves, “I love the country music lifestyle. I love the people. I love the country. I love the music because it’s right from the heart. It tells stories. It just gets my heart. I love Martina McBride. I love Brad Paisley. I love Rascal Flatts. I love Tim McGraw. Faith Hill. Trisha Yearwood. Garth Brooks. I could go on and on and on. The feeling you get when you sing country music, it just feels right. It just feels really real. It transports me into a story, whatever that story is.”
Her own story, which is not as squeaky clean as you’re probably thinking, will also be coming out this fall. It promises to be a barn-burner, touching on some hot-as-hell topics that I have been forbidden to mention until publication time (hopefully, we’ll catch her again then so that she can spill.). But let’s just say that your mouth will drop open when you hear tell.
Until then, she continues to surround herself with the people and places (and music) she loves, in addition to the hundreds of people who approach her each day as if they know her. And don’t they, really?
In response, she keeps it not just real, but uncomplicated. And the Brady blessing/curse? No worries.
“It’s just what it is,” she says, “and you have to accept it and make the most of it. It’s a nice thing. It’s a really nice thing to be remembered for being on a show that America loves. I’ve been around now 51 years. I’ve learned to have just a great attitude in life and with people. It sure beats the other way.
“It’s the only life I’ve known. I think we all go through things in life that are really difficult. And it just really depends on your attitude, on your outlook. You can make one thing positive or make it a negative. I choose to make things a positive.
“When people call me Marcia, I don’t care. They can call me Marcia all the time.”
As if you need to be told.
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 18, 2008.
|#1 ©2008 Ron Jaffee. Courtesy of CMT.|
|#2 ©1974 Bud Gray. Courtesy of Paramount Television.|
|#3 ©2008 Ron Jaffee. Courtesy of CMT.|
|#4 ©2008 Ron Jaffee. Courtesy of CMT.|