Why Ann B. Davis Was the Center Square on “The Brady Bunch”

Hollywood, R.I.P., TV

When The Brady Bunch premiered in the fall of 1969, viewers knew Robert Reed as a dramatic actor (The Defenders) and Florence Henderson as a stage and variety-TV performer. That left Ann B. Davis as the ringer, as the sign to audiences that, yes, The Brady Bunch was a comedy, and that, yes, zingers would be delivered, and not only would they be delivered, but they’d be delivered by a pro, a two-time Emmy-winning vet, in fact, best known at the time for a series that’s hardly known at all today, The Bob Cummings Show.

Davis died Sunday. She was 88. She was the center square because she was the comedy in the situation.