Ann Bradford Davis (May 3, 1926 – June 1, 2014) was an American actress. She achieved prominence for her role in the NBC situation comedy The Bob Cummings Show (1955–1959), for which she twice won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, but she was best known for playing the part of Alice Nelson, the housekeeper in ABC's The Brady Bunch (1969–1974).
Davis was born in Schenectady, New York, the daughter of Marguerite (née Stott) and Cassius Miles Davis. She had an identical twin, Harriet, and an older brother, Evans. When she was three, she and her family moved to Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania. She graduated from Strong Vincent High School and later from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She originally enrolled as a pre-medical major; however, she changed her mind and went into drama after seeing her older brother's performance of Oklahoma! Davis graduated in 1948 with a degree in drama and speech.
In the 1953–1954 season, Davis appeared as a musical judge on ABC's Jukebox Jury.
Davis's first television success was as Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz in The Bob Cummings Show, 1955-1959. She auditioned for the role, because her friend's boyfriend was a casting director and recommended her for the part. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series twice out of four nominations for this role.
She appeared on January 23, 1958, as a guest star on The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. On February 9, 1960, Davis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In the 1965–1966 television season, Davis appeared as Miss Wilson, a physical education teacher at a private girls' academy in John Forsythe's single-season NBC sitcom, The John Forsythe Show.
For a period in the 1960s and 1970s, Davis was known for her appearances in television commercials for the Ford Motor Company, particularly for the mid-sized Ford Fairlane models. Davis was also featured in commercials for Minute Rice in Canada until the mid-1980s.
From 1969 to 1974, Davis played housekeeper Alice Nelson in The Brady Bunch television series. She later returned to take part in various Brady Bunch television movies, including The Brady Girls Get Married (1981) and A Very Brady Christmas (1988). She also reprised her role as Alice Nelson in two short-lived Brady Bunch spin-off television series: The Brady Brides (1981) and The Bradys (1990), both of which lasted only six episodes. She also made a cameo appearance as a truck driver named "Schultzy", a reference to her days on The Bob Cummings Show, in The Brady Bunch Movie in 1995. In 1994, Davis published a cookbook, Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook, with Brady Bunch inspired recipes. The book also includes recipes from cast members.
In the early 1990s, Davis focused on theater. She performed in a production of Arsenic and Old Lace, and a world tour production of Crazy for You.
Davis never completely retired from acting; in her later years she was the celebrity spokeswoman in several Shake 'n Bake commercials, and later appeared in several disposable mop commercials for Swiffer. She also appeared in a number of Brady Bunch reunion projects, most recently TV Land's The Brady Bunch 35th Anniversary Reunion Special: Still Brady After All These Years. On April 22, 2007, The Brady Bunch was awarded the TV Land Pop Culture Award on the 5th annual TV Land Awards. Davis and other cast members accepted the award, and she received a standing ovation.
In 1976, Davis sold her home in Los Angeles to move to Denver, Colorado, where she joined an Episcopal community led by Bishop William C. Frey. The community later relocated to Ambridge in Beaver County in far western Pennsylvania after Frey became dean of the seminary Trinity School for Ministry. Davis had long been a volunteer for the Episcopal Church, working at the General Convention, attending services at churches around the country.
Davis never married nor was she publicly known to have been romantically linked to anyone.
Davis died at the age of 88 on June 1, 2014, at a hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Earlier in the day, she had sustained a subdural hematoma from a fall in her bathroom in the San Antonio residence, in which she lived with Bishop Frey and his wife, Barbara. Sources close to her say she was in excellent health for a woman her age, and her death was a complete shock. She is buried in the Saint Helena's Columbarium and Memorial Gardens in Boerne, Kendall County, Texas.
|1955||A Man Called Peter||Ruby Coleman||Uncredited|
|1956||The Best Things in Life Are Free||Hattie Stewart||Uncredited|
|1960||Pepe||Ann B. "Schultzy" Davis|
|1961||All Hands on Deck||Nobby|
|1961||Lover Come Back||Millie|
|1994||Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult||Alice Nelson||Credited as playing herself|
|1995||The Brady Bunch Movie||Trucker (Shultzy)|
|1953–1953||Jukebox Jury||Herself/Judge||Musical series|
|1956||Matinee Theater||Peg Miller||Episode: "Belong to Me"|
|1956||Lux Video Theatre||Miss Killicat||Episode: "The Wayward Saint"|
|1955–1959||The Bob Cummings Show||Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz||153 episodes|
|1960||Wagon Train||Mrs. Foster||Episode: "The Countess Baranof Story"|
|1962||The New Breed||Elizabeth MacBaine||Episode: "Wherefore Art Thou, Romeo?"|
|1962||Here's Hollywood||Herself||Celebrity interview program|
|1963||McKeever and the Colonel||Sgt. Gruber||Episode: "Too Many Sergeants"|
|1963||The Keefe Brasselle Show||Herself||3 appearances on summer replacement series for The Garry Moore Show|
|1964||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Matha||Episode: "Wake Up, Darling"|
|1965–1966||The John Forsythe Show||Miss Wilson||29 episodes|
|1966||The Pruitts of Southampton||Mrs. Derwin||Episode: "Phyllis Takes a Letter"|
|1968||Insight||Pat||Episode: "The Late Great God"|
|1970/1973||Love, American Style||2 episodes|
|1971||Big Fish, Little Fish||Hilda Rose||Movie|
|1973||The World of Sid & Marty Krofft at the Hollywood Bowl||Audience member||Uncredited|
|1969–1974||The Brady Bunch||Alice Nelson / Cousin Emma||117 episodes|
|1974||Only with Married Men||Mola||Movie; uncredited|
|1976–1977||The Brady Bunch Hour||Alice Nelson||9 episodes|
|1980||The Love Boat||Agnes||Episode: "Invisible Maniac/September Song/Peekaboo"|
|1981||The Brady Girls Get Married||Alice Nelson||Movie|
|1981||The Brady Brides||6 episodes|
|1988||A Very Brady Christmas||Movie|
|1989||Day by Day||Episode: "A Very Brady Episode"|
|1990||The Bradys||4 episodes|
|1991||Hi Honey, I'm Home!||Episode: "SRP"|
|1997||Something So Right||Maxine||Episode: "Something About Inter-Ex-Spousal Relations"|
|1972–1973||No, No, Nanette|
|1992–1996||Crazy for You||Mother|
|1996||Arsenic and Old Lace||Abby Brewster|
Awards and nominations
Davis received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations, resulting in two awards, for her portrayal of Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz on The Bob Cummings Show.
|Television Season||Award||Category||Television Program||Result||Notes|
|1955–1956||Emmy Award||Best Actress in a Supporting Role||The Bob Cummings Show
(Episode: "Schultzy's Dream World")
|Nominated||Lost to Nanette Fabray (Caesar's Hour)|
|1956–1957||Emmy Award||Best Supporting Performance by an Actress||The Bob Cummings Show||Nominated||Lost to Pat Carroll (Caesar's Hour)|
|1957–1958||Emmy Award||Best Continuing Supporting Performance by an Actress in a Dramatic or Comedy Series||The Bob Cummings Show||Won|
|1958–1959||Emmy Award||Best Supporting Actress (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series||The Bob Cummings Show||Won|
On February 9, 1960, Davis also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7048 Hollywood Boulevard. She also received TV Land Awards in 2004, 2006, and 2007 for her portrayal of Alice Nelson, the housekeeper on The Brady Bunch.