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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 01/25/2008

Catching Up With... Barry Williams (aka Greg Brady)

By Liz Kelly

Barry Williams as Greg (top center) surrounded by his 'Brady Bunch' co-stars.

With apologies to anyone born after the bicentennial, back in the early '70s, the sometimes sappy, sometimes hip "Brady Bunch" (watch the show's intro) was practically required viewing. Young actor Barry Williams was the prince of the shag-carpeted, orange-kitchened, astro-turfed backyard Brady manor as oldest son Greg. And, as Greg hit his teens, he soon morphed into serious competition for other eight-track era heartthrobs like "The Partridge Family's" David Cassidy.

We pulled for Greg when he battled Marcia for the groovy attic space, cringed when he suffered through an accidental hair bleaching and tut-tutted knowingly when he fell under the spell of alter ego Johnny Bravo.

In 1992, Williams's autobiography "Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg," spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into a made-for-TV movie. Williams has appeared in most of the Brady reunion shows and in 2000 released a spoof of Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady" called "The Real Greg Brady":

This week, the actor -- who now divides his time between the stage, satellite radio and his thriving Web site -- hit the keyboard for an e-mail interview with Celebritology. Read on to get his take on Britney Spears, this week's death of actor Allan Melvin ("Brady's" Sam the Butcher) and his insistence on keeping in touch with his fan base.

Click here for the full interview, then share your favorite Brady moments below.

Liz Kelly: You've got a blog, a flickr stream and an active community of commenters -- very Webby for a guy who came of age before the launch of the personal computer. What sites are must-visits for you on a daily basis?

Barry Williams: Did you hear Liz? Webby is the new Groovy. These are exciting times as the Web brings us all closer. I've made sure we have several layers of interactivity here to give us all a wide range of choice in connecting with one another. My daily must visit sites? Naturally, I'm on my own blog everyday (more on this below) -- I also enjoy micropersuasion.com, mashable.com and brandingstrategyinsider.com.


Williams lost a 'Celebrity Boxing' match to 'Partridge Family' alum Danny Bonaduce in 2002. (AP)

Ah. How fun was it playing egomaniac Greg Brady alter ego Johnny Bravo? Would
you still rock the matador jacket?

Rock the matador jacket? Heck, the suit still fits baby. Naturally, I have had it tailored once or twice.

What about the passing of Allan Melvin, "Sam the Butcher" from your Brady Bunch days? Any thoughts?

I can recall the extra energy he brought to the set, even when I was just passing through, and the ease with which he and Alice (Ann B. Davis) brought their relationship to life.

It is always surprising to me how an actor becomes best known for one character. Allan is probably best remembered as "The Brady Bunch's" Sam the Butcher. Perhaps it is because it was a role he was perfectly suited for. I know he was a good guy -- he contributed a lot to the show -- he will be missed.

As a guy who was thrust into the entertainment biz at a young age -- and seemed to navigate his way to adulthood relatively unscathed -- what's your take on people like Britney Spears, who seem unable to make the transition into adulthood?

I don't really know Britney other than what I read and hear about her. I think it is tragic that she has lost custody of her children. I mean even O.J. Simpson has custody of his kids, and he did more than drive with his children without a car seat or run a couple of red lights. I think she is has been placed under a microscope of scrutiny and would be well served to take a break, say to Fiji, for an extended period and collect her thoughts. I also think she should hire a Limo driver.

I was just clicking around your Web site, thegregbradyproject.com -- looks like an active community. Tell me about your co-authors/bloggers -- who are they? How did you find them?

Yes, it is an active community I'm happy to say. One of the great things about launching the new site has been in working with my co-authors, Bob, Eric, Mary Jo, John and Mike. They stood out in an essay contest I had last fall in our search for co-authors. They are regular contributors on the blog and add an interesting and important take on the world of pop culture and current events. I am inviting friends from show business to share their experiences as well.

What's the main goal of your Web presence?

I have a few main goals. It's important to me, and I think for all of us, to evolve. I am looking to be better connected, I want to share more of my experiences and learn about the experiences of others. Supporting charitable organizations such as Smiles Change Lives is also a significant part of my purpose.

Tell me about the charity you work with, Smiles Change Lives.

Sure. Smiles Change Lives helps children with serious dental problems afford corrective surgery and treatment. They are based in Kansas City and can be found in several places around the U.S. I know how important a smile can be to your life (and career). This is a wonderful organization that is providing a tangible, demonstrable benefit to children.

What else are you up to these days?

In addition to The Greg Brady Project I just closed "Growing Up '70s," an Off-Broadway musical I did throughout the holidays in New York City. Next I begin a new musical review called "Married Alive," at The New Theatre in Kansas City. I host my own radio show six days a week on the Totally Seventies channel of Sirius Satellite Radio. I also tour with a show called "The Original Idols Live" in concert. It's all on the blog.

Would you do celeb-reality? Have you been approached?

Thegregbradyproject.com is celeb-reality, plus no cameras in my face and people can talk back.

You can catch Williams in classic "Brady" mode on TV Land.

By Liz Kelly  | January 25, 2008; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Catching Up With..., TV  
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Comments

Liz Kelly, you missed the chance to ask him the question we all want to know the answer to: "What's Florence Henderson like in the sack?"

Posted by: byoolin | January 25, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

all i can say is, "oh my nose! i have to wash my hair. something suddenly came up."

Posted by: methinks | January 25, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Liz, but you skeeved me out with this one.

Barry Williams came to my college campus (yikes! over 10 yrs ago) and in the course of 24 hours managed to: give his scheduled "lecture," ogle and grope anything in a 5 ft radius at the follow-on reception, and seduced at least 3 freshmen. (I'm sure there were more, but those were the only fools stupid enough to cry about it in public.)

The nicest thing I can say is that he definitely knows how to "work" the celebrity thing. Ick!

Posted by: not much of a Barry fan | January 25, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I like Barry. He sure knows how to make the most of an acting gig that ended well over 30 years ago.

"Growing Up Brady" was a fun and informative read. Not sure if Maureen McCormick or Florence Henderson would agree, though.

Posted by: surlychick | January 25, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I concur with not much of a Barry fan. He came to my college campus and seemed totally skeevy.

I did, however, get to do the Brady dance on stage with him. That was memorable.

Posted by: Kelly | January 25, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

In case you all missed this on the previous:

In the movie 'Lost in Translation' where Scarlett Johansson does the karaoke bit she really sounds like a karaoke singer. On stage with The Jesus and Mary Chain she actually doesn't sound bad at all. Very soft and sweet. Not sure how her sound will translate to Tom Waits. Something is bound to be lost in translation. hehe...

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I think I saw Barry on the same book tour in the 90's as "not much of a barry fan" did. And yup, skeezy and sleezy was totally right. A friend and I went and then needed a tetnus shot afterward and we were just in the audience.

Posted by: phan | January 25, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

My favorie Brady moment? Jan's Marcia, Marcia, Marcia rant.

Coincidentally this is my sister Marsha's least favorite Brady moment.

Posted by: jes | January 25, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I always liked the episode when they put the baked beans in a flashlight.
And I loved Sam the Butcher!

Posted by: possum | January 25, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Liz, you can't possibly be old enough to have seen those episodes when they originally aired! So I assume you're using the editorial "we."

Barry came to my college campus in 1974, as the lead in a touring company of "Pippin." Yes, it was all you can imagine it would be.

Posted by: John | January 25, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I like when Marcia got hit in the face with a football. Her character always irked me. Were the skirts really that short back then? I always felt that if a strong breeze came along we would see more than we really wanted to.

Posted by: no_bs_4me | January 25, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Liz, great article! Barry is a genuine guy and I'm happy to hear he is doing well. 'Not much of a Barry fan' sounds like 'wishful thinking'...and the same person commenting more than once! Rock on Barry!

Posted by: Lisa Parker | January 25, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

i always wanted to live in that house. it seemed so awesome to me as a kid.

Posted by: jcm | January 25, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: anon | January 25, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

IIRC Jan usally wore short skirts while Marcia wore bell bottoms. But we all know that Jan was a s-l-u-t. Probably didn't wear any underwear either. If she were a real person she'd be the Britney of her day.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I meant to add: Yes the girls did wear skirts that short back in the seventies. And boys being boys were always trying to find out what color underwear they had on.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I give the guy kudos for being in the 21st century with his site & blog. Some big companies don't have sites that look that good.

I'm also very surprised he hasn't done Celebreality. He seems like he'd be perfect for it.

Posted by: Bored @ home | January 25, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Just so we're clear: My 2:57 was humor; my 3:08 was not.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, the Greg-bleached hair episode was one of the last ones, possibly the very last one, and Mr. Brady wasn't on it. I think there was some contract dispute, and he wasn't on the last three shows or something.

Posted by: anon | January 25, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Here ya go anon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Brady_Bunch_episodes#Season_5_.281973-1974.29

scroll to the bottom

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"...we would see more than we really wanted to."

Speak for yourself, pal.

Posted by: byoolin's inner teenage boy | January 25, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I saw every episode, and honestly can't remember a single moment, let alone a "favorite". Not so true for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, however.

Posted by: St Cheryl | January 25, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Ah come on. Cut Barry some slack. The guy peaked professionally in his teens. Groupies are his only remaining benefit.

Posted by: Max | January 25, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Loved the Brady Bunch as a kid.

But I always wondered why -- with Dad being an architect and all (cf. Zsa Zsa wanting a cosmetics factory shaped like a lipstick) -- the front of the Brady house looked like a split level, yet inside the bedrooms were in the back of the house while the downstairs was in the front.

Read Barry's autobiography and never bought the story of him and Florence OR Maureen. (But a friend swears Barry had a thing once with Robert. !?)

I remember Barry singing "She Believes in Me" on the Mike Douglas Show -- must've been late 70s -- and he sang OK but was a little rough on the high notes.

I was in LA in 1997 and who was the only celebrity I saw? Barry Williams, driving next to us in a silver BMW and looking very happy to be recognized. To his credit, he smiled back and me and my crazed coworker.

Such good times.

Clearly having just written all this, I have got to get a life.

Posted by: td | January 25, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Bicentennial was 1976. That would be mid-1970s or late-1970s, not early-1970s.

Posted by: Nit-picker | January 26, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

pathetic individual that would not have an audience if it weren't for the web. YUKKY!

Posted by: julia | January 26, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I hope his Web site has a real editor -- his grammar and punctuation are atrocious. (Sorry, I was a Peter fan -- "When it's time to change!" and "Pork chops and applesauce!")

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Posted by: hfnowpdtj mdfjoznix | March 4, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Forgive ME, but more about the subject, please!! You are going away from the topic too frequently, therefore it is uneasy to read your posts.

Posted by: snes | April 6, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Writing comments is a very good deal, but only in case when you understand the topic completely

Posted by: Bitcloud | April 9, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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