Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Name: Susan Olsen
Birthdate: August 14, 1961
Famous Years: 1969-1977
Currently Known For: Child of the 70s
|Networth: $2 Million||Famous For: The Brady Bunch|
August 14, 1961
Child of the 70s
The Brady Bunch
There are some child actors that end up sticking around Hollywood for a long time after their initial role, but that wasn’t quite the case for Susan Olsen. When she was just eight years old, Olsen made her debut on television as the youngest child Cindy on the popular sitcom, “The Brady Bunch”. At the time, Olsen stuck out for having her signature blonde pigtails on the show, but things weren’t always quite as they seemed.
To match the blonde hair that Cindy’s mother Carol (played by Florence Henderson) had, the producers wanted to pick a child that had similar hair. Olsen herself has always been blonde, but the network decided that her hair should have been another shade of blonde. With that, producers would frequently bleach the young Olsen’s hair to make it the platinum blonde that they’d hoped for, but it would have adverse effects.
The frequent bleaching would cause Olsen’s hair to start falling out in clumps, which would obviously become traumatizing to the actress who wasn’t even yet 10 years old. Olsen then pleaded with show creator Sherwood Schwartz for the crew to stop dying her hair after the first season. Schwartz would make sure that her wish was granted, and in the second season, you can see that Cindy’s hair is a little darker than it was when the show debuted in 1969.
By the time that Olsen had landed the role of Cindy Brady, she had already appeared on television a couple of times. In shows such as “Ironside”, “Julia” and “Gunsmoke”, Olsen had guest appearances and had a small role in “The Trouble with Girls” in the same year that “The Brady Bunch” made it to air. If you’ve been looking for her on the big screen since then, you’d have a tough time finding Olsen. That’s because her only wide release since then came in 1995 as a reporter in “The Brady Bunch Movie”, but the scene would be deleted.
Instead, Olsen remained on television playing Cindy in the spin-off series “The Brady Kids”, “The Brady Bunch Hour” and “The Brady Brides” in the 1970s and then in the short-lived “The Bradys” in 1990. Outside of that, she popped up on an episode of “Divorce Court” in the 1980s, and had cameo appearances in “Pacific Blue” and “The Young and the Restless” with two TV films since 2012. Her most notable appearance ahs come in the web series “Child of the 70s” from 2013 to 2016.
Shifting her focus away from being an actress, Olsen would become an advocate for animal rights, taking in unwanted cats. She’d also add artistry to her resume, creating many different projects that have been featured in galleries. Unfortunately, in recent years, many of the headlines that Olsen has made have come from when she was fired from her radio job in Los Angeles called “Two Chicks Talkin’ Politics”. Olsen would be fired for using a gay slur repeatedly, leading to the station parting ways from the former actress.
Like many of the other members of “The Brady Bunch” that included former co-star Maureen McCormick, it would be hard to adapt to life after being a child star. Olsen would eventually admit that she would take part in activities that included shoplifting and even dealing illegal substances. Olsen also mentioned that her co-stars Eve Plumb (Jan Brady) and McCormick (Marcia Brady) were at odds and have been ever since the show.
“I think it’s kind of petty,” Olsen said about the co-stars. “From day one with these two I have always been in the middle, and now it’s at the point where there isn’t even a desire to communicate through me.” Part of the reason why the child actors seemed to be at odds, whether it be with each other or at producers, was because of how much they were making. For network stars, it wasn’t a lot of money, and Olsen said that the actors even had to pay to park outside of the studio, and that the salaries weren’t enough to live on for the years that followed the show’s end.
For Olsen, though, it was nice to get away from the Cindy Brady character, even if it meant she wouldn’t find work that would be as consistent. When talking about the show being cancelled, “Sorry to say I was relieved,” Olsen said. “I felt the show had gone on long enough and I was going through a very awkward stage. The producers didn’t know what to do with me.”
She added that “I felt like I was getting uglier by the minute. It’s hard enough to go through this stage, but to have to do it on national television? I mean people were already saying things like, ‘Oh she used to be so cute.’ I wanted the show to end before there was some very ‘special episode’ where Cindy gets her first bra...or something equally mortifying.”
Olsen then got the chance to dispel some of the rumors that have surrounded “The Brady Bunch” for years, and finally put some of them to rest. “I’m not dead. I did not do (adult films),” she said, claiming that “People (who make up these rumors) are truly worthless human beings and have no business taking up space on the planet.”