This is why Susan Olsen skipped the Brady Christmas movie

When her TV family was getting back together for the holidays, she was in Jamaica on her honeymoon.

When Susan Olsen didn’t show up for A Very Brady Christmas in 1988, a rumor began circulating that the former child star was dead.

Olsen heard a lot of rumors after she disappeared from the spotlight, none of them true, but the death rumor was hard to shake.

Instead of loudly disproving the rumor, though, the Cindy Brady actor stayed silent, not speaking up about her absence from the reunion TV movie until 1993.

When Olsen did finally set the record straight, it turned out that she missed the reunion because she would have had to cancel her honeymoon to do it, and producers wouldn’t agree to pay her what she wanted.

"It came down to money and bad politics," Olsen told The Age in 1993. "I was asking for way less than the two other girls wanted, but they still wouldn’t give it to me."

Her TV sisters Eve Plumb and Maureen McCormick came to Olsen’s defense, but their support didn’t matter to the studio. Instead, the decision was made to replace Olsen, and a hunt for a lookalike began.

"My agent rang me to say there’s a casting call looking for a Susan Olsen look-alike," Olsen said.

For Olsen, it was like that Bob Marley song goes only for Olsen, it was "No Cindy, No Cry."

"I was in Jamaica at the Bob Marley Performance Centre listening to a great reggae band," Olsen said.

The reason she was in Jamaica was because she’d already planned her honeymoon. It meant a lot to her to celebrate her wedding, and she said she didn’t want to cancel because, "I really had my heart set on it."

After Olsen got married, her husband helped her recover after Olsen struggled to get call-backs, feeling she was too typecast as Cindy Brady to be seen for any other role.

"You should do art," her husband said, and Olsen got a job screen-printing T-shirts at a shop where customers occasionally would head into the back area just to meet her.

That career didn’t work out, and neither did her first marriage.

Although Olsen never regretted not doing A Very Brady Christmas, she did return to play Cindy in The Bradys spin-off show in 1990.

"The Brady Bunch was like a second family," Olsen said. "There was a lot of love from all around."

Watch The Brady Bunch on MeTV!

Sundays at 12 & 12:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


JDnHuntsvilleAL 27 months ago
Well they failed at getting a Susan Olsen look-alike -- Jennifer Runyon was SO MUCH PRETTIER than Olsen.
Pacificsun 28 months ago
Interesting story. But inflexibility doesn't do an actor any good when being considered for future casting. Typecasting is the excuse. But folks the Industry is a business. If my company needed me for an effort that would make a difference for many reasons, nobody would accept my excuses. Nor could I hope for more money if I thought I deserved it. The problem is, if an example isn't set within a Production, it causes instability all around. Time, labor and the budget depends upon a tight schedule. And solid communication.
GregBrobeck 32 months ago
I think it would be fun to see all three replacement Brady daughters together in something (Geri Reischl, Jennifer Runyon and Leah Ayres).
Michael 32 months ago
Cindy wanted to go on a ski vacation, so the movie's kind of like real life.
Zip 32 months ago
I hate that she wasn't a part of this special, though I see her points. I didn't really "see" Cindy in the actress they got to replace her, mostly because I knew her from Charles In Charge, and Ghostbusters.
bradyguy Zip 18 months ago
Which is half of the answer to one of my toughest BB trivia questions - "Complete the BB/Charles in Charge connection" (it's an essay question...)
WordsmithWorks 32 months ago
Shows you what the producers really thought of the actors when they brought in substitutes more than once throughout the "Brady" specials.
bradyguy WordsmithWorks 18 months ago
Umm....that the show must go on...??

I love the original Brady kids...but do you scrap the whole project because one isn't available?

Fake Jan was rough...but the show was so silly that few really thought about it, and it added another layer of oddity/wackiness the BBVH. After that..I guess we just got used to it...

It didn't hurt that Jennifer Runyon was crazy hot! (I will always love me some Susan Olsen...but gimme a break...I was 23!)
Runeshaper 32 months ago
I'm glad she at least felt the love from her coworkers (-:
Andybandit 32 months ago
I hate when people think celebrities passed away and they didn't.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?