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Alice Nelson, best known to television viewers as simply Alice, is the housekeeper to the Brady family. She was portrayed by Ann B. Davis.
Alice grew up in the same neighborhood as the Bradys, graduating from Westdale High School, the school Greg and Marcia attended in the series. Alice was the housekeeper to Mike Brady, his previous wife (who died before the series started), and their three boys. Alice stayed on, to be the housekeeper for not only his boys, but for his new wife, Carol, and her three daughters. Alice was generally impartial toward the children, although she presented Jan with a locket at one point, "from one middle sister to another."
Alice was best known for telling jokes (often self-deprecating, and usually interspersed with drier humor than the rest of the Brady clan), which were almost invariably met with multiple "Oh, Alice!" responses. Alice was also known for her sky blue housekeeping uniform, which she almost always wore. She also joined in the children's games (including playing basketball), and went along with the family on vacations. In an apparent running gag with the character, strenuous physical activity would sometimes cause Alice to throw her back out, making her immobile for a short period of time.
Alice had an identical cousin, Emma (also played by Davis), who was a retired master sergeant in the Women's Army Corps. Emma once filled in for Alice when Alice traveled out of town. Alice quit her job at one point when she felt the children no longer trusted her, becoming a waitress at a local restaurant. Her replacement Kay (who did her work faithfully, but never tried to become close with the Bradys) told the kids where to find her ("The Golden Spoon at Fourth and Oak..."), and they begged Alice to come back.
For most of the series, Alice dated Sam Franklin (Allan Melvin), who ran the local butcher shop. In the final season, Alice and Sam were engaged. Alice and Sam have won awards in Charleston dancing and bowling, which was parodied in the Brady Bunch Movie, in which Sam gave Alice a new bowling ball instead of an engagement ring. They were married some time after The Brady Bunch left the air in 1974 and before The Brady Girls Get Married. In the 1990s parody movies, Alice was played by actress Henriette Mantel. In the first film, Davis makes a cameo as a truck driver whose CB handle is "Schultzy" (Davis first became popular in the 1950s playing a character named Schultzy on The Bob Cummings Show).
The role of Alice was originally to have been played by Monty Margetts, but at the last minute, the role was recast. This was due to the fact that producers of the show changed their mind about casting Joyce Bulifant, who was originally cast as Carol Brady, and instead replaced her with Florence Henderson, who took on the role; producers felt a more comedic, zany housekeeper was called for, to balance Henderson's soft-spoken, low key presence.