Catching Up With... Barry Williams (aka Greg Brady)
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.
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.
| January 25, 2008; 10:42 AM ET
Categories: Catching Up With..., TV
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