I have always had Alice envy. Ever since I was a kid, I watched hours of The Brady Bunch reruns. It wasn’t just to watch the kids getting into all sorts of shenanigans and hjinks that drew me in, but the life that they led. They had a super-cool, ranch-style home with that epic staircase, perfect for family photos. They had lots of siblings of similar ages to play with, while I only had one (who just happened to be 10 years older than me). And they had Alice.
Alice was there to fetch a Band-Aid for that skinned knee, she always had a snack ready, and best of all, she loved all those kids as if they were her own, even though she was just their hired housekeeper. Actress Ann B. Davis once said of her backstory: “I cared very much about this family. It was my family. It was as close to my family as Alice would ever get. I would have died for any single one of them at any point.”
Alice raised the housekeeper bar and raised it high. She cooked, she cleaned, she parented — all on top of her witty one-liners. It was like having a second mom in the house. And seriously, who wouldn’t love that? As a viewer of the The Brady Bunch, it was hard, nay impossible, to not have developed a deep fondness for the woman. So many of us who grew up with Alice on their TVs were genuinely sad to hear of the passing of Ann B. Davis at the age of 88. It wasn’t that we lost the actress who played Alice; it’s as if we actually lost Alice herself, a woman who will be forever adorned in our collective minds in a light blue dress, white apron, and gracious smile.
In honor of Alice, we have put together an ode to all those housekeepers, maids, butlers, and nannies who have helped American TV families raise their children, keep their houses clean, and get supper on the table. Who is your favorite?