Emmy-winning actress Ann B Davis, who is best known for her role as housekeeper Alice Nelson in US TV series ‘The Brady Bunch’, has died aged 88.
A Texas medical examiner’s investigator said that Davis died on Sunday morning but that no cause of death was available.
A longtime friend of Davis, Bill Frey, said she had fallen in her home in San Antonio on Saturday and never recovered.
An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Producer Sherwood Schwartz’s ‘The Brady Bunch’, which tells the story of the marriage between a widow with three daughters and a widower with three sons, ran from 1969 to 1974. Davis’ character was the mainstay of stability for the large, non-traditional family. Her face occupied the centre square during the show’s iconic opening credits.
The show returned in several forms including ‘The Brady Bunch Hour’ in 1977, ‘The Brady Brides’ in 1981, and ‘The Bradys’ in 1990. ‘The Brady Bunch Movie’ was an unexpected box-office hit in 1995. Although another actress played Alice, Davis appeared in a bit part as a trucker. She did not appear in the less-successful ‘A Very Brady Sequel’.
Co-star Florence Henderson, who played single mother Carol Brady in the TV series, said in a statement on Sunday that she was “shocked and saddened” by the news of the death and that she had “lost a wonderful friend and colleague”.
Before donning a light blue and white maid’s uniform to take on the role of devoted housekeeper Alice, Davis appeared in ‘The Bob Cummings Show’, a TV sitcom which ran from 1955 to 1959. Her role as Charmaine “Schultzy” Schultz, secretary to handsome bachelor Cummings, earned her two Emmy Awards in 1958 and 1959 and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 1960. She also appeared on Broadway and in other films such as ‘A Man Called Peter’, ‘Lover Come Back’ and ‘All Hands on Deck’.
Davis was born in 1926 in Schenectady, New York and grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. The actress never married, saying she never found a man who was more interesting than her career.
Additional reporting by AP