Friday, 6 June 2014

Ann B. Davis Passes On

Ann B. Davis, who played Schultzy on The Bob Cummings Show and Alice on The Brady Bunch, died on 1 June 2014 at the age of 88. She had been hospitalised for a week following a fall in her home.

Ann B. Davis was born on 5 May 1975 in Schenectady, New York. She was three years old when her family moved to Erie, Pennsylvania. She attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she was initially a pre-medical major. She switched to majoring in drama after seeing her brother in a performance of Oklahoma. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1948.

Ann B. Davis made her film debut in an uncredited role in A Man Called Peter  in 1955. She appeared in the film The Best Things in Life Are Free in 1956. On television she appeared in episodes of Matinee Theatre, Lux Video Theatre, and Wagon Train. It was 1955 that she  began her run on The Bob Cummings Show in the role of  Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz, Bob Collins' long suffering secretary. Miss Davis remained with The Bob Cummings Show for the entirety of its run. For her role as Schultzy, she won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series in both 1958 and 1959 and was nominated for the award in 1956 and 1957. She had a cameo as Schultzy in the movie Pepe in 1960. She appeared on Broadway in the production Once Upon a Mattress in 1960.

In the Sixties Ann B. Davis appeared in the films All Hands on Deck (1961) and Lover Come Back (1961). She was a regular on The John Forsythe Show. It was in 1969 that she started playing the maid Alice Nelson on The Brady Bunch. She guest starred on the shows The New Breed, McKeever and the Colonel, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, The Phyllis Diller Show, Insight, and Love American Style.

From the Seventies to the Nineties Ann B. Davis reprised her role as Alice in The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, The Brady Brides, an episode of Day By Day, The Bradys, and an episode of Hi Honey, I'm Home. She guest starred on the shows Love Boat and Something So Right. Ann B. Davis appeared in The Brady Bunch Movie as a trucker named Schultzy. She also worked on stage, appearing on Broadway in Crazy for You in 1992 and touring with a production of Arsenic and Old Lace in 1996.

Ann B. Davis was a remarkable comedic actress. On The Bob Cummings Show she played a memorable character among an entire cast of memorable characters. On The Brady Bunch she was easily the best reason to watch the show (for some of us she was the only reason to watch the show). She gave a great performance as Carol's secretary Millie in Lover Come Back. Miss Davis had a gift when it came to comedy. She not only had perfect timing, but she could create full realised characters even when she was on screen for only a few minutes. If her characters remain often remain better remembered than the leads of the shows in which she appeared, it was perhaps because Ann B. Davis was so good at what she did.

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