Here’s the story: A year after “The Brady Bunch” went off the air, Maureen ("Marcia") McCormick went to a Laurel Canyon party with her boyfriend, where she encountered, for the first time, cocaine. She tried it. Nothing happened. She did a second line. Nothing happened. When she snorted the third line, she felt so euphoric and "sane" that she became hopelessly addicted for the next six years.
And I mean hopelessly: McCormick became known as "Hoover" in certain circles -- and one night, she was so desperate for cocaine she let a man film her having sex. (Don't worry, we'll definitely get to that part later.)
It’s no wonder she spent six years lost in the snow: When she was young, her father walked into her bedroom one night and told her matter-of-factly that both of her maternal grandparents had died -- in mental institutions -- of syphilis. He also told her that her mother was born with syphilis. From that moment, she more or less walked around feeling like she could go crazy at any moment.
Fast forward to 2008. McCormick kicked her addiction years ago -- and now, she's ready to talk about it -- all of it. In her autobiography, "Here's the Story," the actress chronicles the drug years, discusses Robert Reed's hidden homosexuality, reveals the "Brady" set romances, and much, much more.
Trust me -- this is not the annoying kind of "tell all" autobiography you finish and think, "Huh – so that was it?" She reveals it all...
Talking with Maureen McCormick is definitely a surreal experience. She may be 53, but McCormick still sounds exactly the way Marcia did at 17. I'm not just talking about her physical voice -- McCormick still talks just like Marcia. She answers questions with the breathy enthusiasm of a California teenager, and words like "Totally!" "Wow!" and "Oh, my God!" pop up frequently. [Note: When I asked her about same-sex marriage, her answer was, "I totally support it. Totally! I think it's great and I definitely support it."].
And there's something oddly comforting about hearing her pronounce the word "cool" -- even now -- as "kew-ell."
You've been all over TV with the release of this book, and it seems like every talk show wants you. Did you think there would be this much interest in your autobiography or are you surprised at all the attention?
But no, I had absolutely no idea there would be so much attention around this. I just found out that it's number four on the New York Times bestseller list, and I am trying to wrap my head around that. Isn't that cool?
I really am proud that I was brave enough to even write the book. I feel like I came out, you know? I came out of the closet, and it feels great! I had been hiding all these secrets for so many years, and it just feels really good to finally let people know what I've been through. And now, I don’t feel any pressure to be this perfect person -- like Marcia -- anymore.
There's so much to cover, but let's start with Robert Reed. You wrote about his being in the closet. You said you never knew he was gay during the show, but when you reunited for "Brady Bunch Variety Hour," it was obvious and everyone knew. How out was he to you? Did he talk about it?
It was an un-talked-about thing. People didn’t really talk about it back then. Unfortunately, the poor guy had to keep it in.
There's so little information about his life as a gay man, and nobody's ever written a book. Did he have a partner? Did you ever see or meet any of his boyfriends?
I didn’t, but I wish I had! Now, I do know that he had a really, really good friend named Anne Heney, who was an actress. And they were like -- not boyfriend and girlfriend, of course, but they were like really, really close. She was his closest friend, I would say. But no, we never heard anything about his personal life other than that.
I read something sad one time. Is it true that nobody showed up for his funeral?
No that's totally not true! There was a really nice turnout, actually. I was there. It was really, really nice. Sad, but nice.
You really came back in the public eye about two years ago, when you did "Celebrity Fit Club." You were on the show with Ross the Intern and ANT. Do you remain friends with them?
Love Ross! Love Ant! They are both the nicest guys. They are like, so sweet, I love them. My gay friends are my favorite people. I have lesbian friends, too.
I guess it would be Rosie O'Donnell. I haven't talked to her for a while, but I absolutely love her.
You say in the book that you used to hate being recognized as "Marcia Brady," but now you say you welcome it when you get it from fans and celebrities.
It's coolest thing in the whole world. I love it when anyone recognizes me as Marcia, and yes, it happens a lot with celebrities too. Like with Nicole Kidman, which freaked me out.
I just met Quentin Tarantino, and he came up to me and he was like, "I know every movie you've ever done!" And I was just like, "What? Quentin Tarantino knows all about my little B movies?" [Laughs]. It was so strange!
I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to get you for one of his films. Would you do it?
Are you kidding me? In a second. I would love to do something dark or naughty for Quentin…
You were able to totally hide your addiction from the media. Do you feel sorry for Lindsay Lohan and other young stars who can't keep anything hidden? And Maureen – you were way worse than Lindsay!
I know…I was. And I do feel sorry for her, and all the young stars. They really can't go anywhere these days, and when they go through problems, obviously the whole world is watching. It's got to be really, really hard. I was lucky I was able to keep all of my stuff hidden.
By now, everyone's well aware of your six-year addiction to cocaine, which really is shocking. Do you ever think about cocaine?
When you're an addictive personality and you've been addicted to something, it's kind of like, always there, you know? It gets so much better as the years go by, but yeah, I miss the…feeling I got when I was doing it. That really great high where I felt like life was perfect and I could do no wrong. It was very unreal.
Cocaine was such a big part of your everyday life. Are there still things in your life now that like, remind you of coke?
Oh, totally! When I drive through Laurel Canyon in LA, my nose gets all funny-feeling, like I've been doing coke all night. And if I'm around, like, any kind of white powder, it’s really weird for me. Baby powder -- anything at all that's a white powder. Um … Crystals remind me of cocaine -- you know, cocaine was cut with crystally-like substances. What else? Oh, hundred-dollar bills totally remind me of my coke days.
Did you have a personal preference? Like, did you like to snort with a straw or rolled up paper money?
I didn’t care what I had, as long as it went up!
One of the things you didn’t mention in the book was the music you would listen to on these all-night coke binges, so I'm curious about that.
Oh, definitely the Eagles, "Hotel California." That was a big album for me in those days. Let's see … Carole King, James Taylor. And I loved Janis Ian. Oh my God, I used to just listen to her for hours. I thought she was just awesome. Yup, those were the records that were big with me then.
One of the most shocking revelations in the book to me was when you said you let a guy film you having sex because he had coke! And you were 19? That's right after you played Marcia. I hate to say this, but a lot people would want to see that.
Well, he filmed me naked. And I don't think I was 19. I think I may have been more like in my early '20's.
How has that video not surfaced?
Oh my God…I have nooooo idea.
Are you scared that it will ever come out?
You know what? I'm really not, because it's been so long now. He's dead now, so I just think it would have come out by now.
What would you do if it did come out?
Oh, my God. I just…don’t know.
Moving on to "The Brady Bunch." Have you ever saved any of the clothes from the show?
What about props from the show?
I had a Kitty Carryall doll, but I gave that to Rosie O'Donnell. I do have the "Brady Bunch" lunchbox, and I did steal a prop -- it was a wreath from the "Very Brady Christmas" movie.
Do you sort of kick yourself for not keeping stuff from the original show?
Oh God, yeah! In fact, some of the things on the show, like in our bedroom, were things that I had brought in myself, and I never even got them back. And they were my personal items.
Do you know if a lot of the props and clothes from the original show exist, and if anyone ever plans on auctioning them off?
You know what? I never thought about that, but wow, I guess they probably do exist somewhere.
What about the Brady Bunch house? Does it still exist? If so, do you ever drive by it?
The Brady Bunch house does still exist, and it's in the San Fernando Valley. And you know what? I have never been to it! Not once. Isn’t that, like, so weird? But everywhere I go, people tell me they've seen the house -- they love it and they love that it's still there.
Your daughter is 19. When was the first time she saw you as Marcia, and what was her reaction?
Has she watched it recently?
We have "The Brady Bunch" DVD box set at the house, and a lot of the times, she stays up after we go to bed, so I have no idea if she's watching them or not, I'd have to ask her.
What about you? Do you ever stick in the DVD? What are some of your favorite episodes?
Oh my God, I hate to watch myself! I loved doing the show, I loved being on the show, but I have never, ever liked watching myself. It's also weird for me, because watching "The Brady Bunch" also brings back some sort of sad memories in my life.
I had friends over the other night, and we were watching the show in prep for this interview. It was the episode where Bobby idolizes Jesse James. There was a scene where you, Jan and Cindy are digging through trash cans looking for Mr. Brady's speech. Do you know that you're not wearing a bra, and when you're bent over the trash can, you can totally see your breasts three times?
[Screams laughing]. Oh my God, really? I love it! That's hilarious!
We may have been the first to notice it, but it was really obvious and we all saw it at the same time. We were all like, "Wait -- did you see that? Rewind!"
I did not know that, and nobody ever told me! I'll have to go back and check that out now! Yeah, Eve and I tried to rebel by not wearing bras sometimes…
You told Howard Stern that when you went to see the feature film of the "Brady Bunch" movie, Christine Taylor's performance as Marcia was so good, you actually started to think it was you in the movie. Did they ask you to do a cameo?
Yes, they asked me to do a cameo, and I didn’t do it.
Why not? That would have been great!
[Laughs.] I know, I know! I should have done it, but I said no. My agent said no, the money was awful, and I said no. It would have been fun to do it, and it was a great movie. I do regret that.
There's a game called "Who would you rather sleep with?" Have you heard of it?
I pair up two celebrities, and you have to choose which one you'd sleep with -- and you have to give a reason why. Would you be willing to play?
Oh my God, definitely!
Great! I chose mostly '70s people because of Marcia, but also have contemporary celebs. OK—ready?
Susan Dey or Peggy Lipton?
[Thinks]. Oh man, I wanted them both...
Hold on, wait -- what do you mean you wanted them both?
[Laughs.] I thought they both so hot, I was so jealous of them both. So that's a really hard one, you know? I'd probably have to say that I'd want them both at the same time.
Valerie Bertinelli or Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island?"
Valerie Bertinelli. Because I can relate to her more. I was never a big fan of "Gilligan's Island." I used to watch "One Day at a Time" a lot, and loved it.
Oh, Florence Henderson. Easily. Because I've already seen her boobs, and they were great.
Robert Reed or Shirley Jones?
[Thinks.] Hmm. Wow.
Oh my God, you're thinking about this one?
Yeah, I am! Let me think. See, I find Shirley Jones very sexy and always have. I think I'd actually choose her.
Over Robert Reed? Even though you had a crush on him?
I know! But yeah, I really think I'd choose Shirley.
Tony Randall or Jack Klugman?
[Quickly] Oh, Jack Klugman. Jack's just so much sexier. He was, um -- a bad boy. He's just a very sexy man.
Paul Lynde or Charles Nelson Reilly?
I think Charles Nelson Reilly. He was sexier.
OK, now some contemporary people. Rosie O'Donnell or Barbara Walters?
Oh Rosie O'Donnell! For sure. I find her sexier than Barbara Walters. Rosie's just really sexy in general.
[Pauses.] Oh, wow. Oh, wow! That's a hard one. I mean, that's really hard. [Thinks.] I love Ellen so much. Let me think. Oh, my God, I think I'd say Portia. 'Cause she's just really hot.
That's too hard! Oh my God, I like them both. [Thinks.] Let me think about this…hmm. I think maybe Ellen.
Because she's like, really, really sensitive? And I was with her one day and she just started crying to me, and she opened up her heart so much to me and I just like, went right to her soul and it was just so awesome.
Rosie's going to be heartbroken, but as least you chose her over Barbara Walters. OK -- Howard Stern or Jay Leno?
Oh, my God, HOWARD! Totally. He's sexy. He's hot. I'm telling you, he's hot. When I was on his show last week, I was actually…shocked at how attracted I was to him.
You know, I saw that on Howard TV and at the end, you two really had a private moment -- there was definitely chemistry.
I'm sure there was, because I was really attracted to him.
What about Howard or Ellen DeGeneres?
Howard Stern. Absolutely.
OK, last one. Bobby Brown -- who you're, shockingly, best friends with -- or Whitney Houston?
Oh, my God, Bobby in a second.
Oh, my God, really? What's up with you two? Are you really best friends?
Yes, we really are. He's great. He's a big teddy bear, I'm telling you. He's also soooo sexy.
I don't see it, but I trust you. Thanks for talking, Maureen!
Thank you! Tell everyone I said hi!
By Jenny Stewart
Originally Published 2008, PlanetOut.com, Gay.com
(Images courtesy of Getty)