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Annual Meeting Highlights
Actress With 'Perfect' Sitcom Persona Hid Struggle With Mental Illness
Psychiatric News
Volume 44 Number 4 page 2-39

Maureen McCormick is all grown up and middle-aged now, but her life did not parallel that of the perky and popular teenager she portrayed in the family sitcom "The Brady Bunch" and as an adult in "The Brady Brides."FIG1

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Maureen McCormick's struggles with drug addiction and depression began after her "Brady Brunch" years, but even that period wasn't free of personal strife. 

Credit: Jeffrey Vogeding

McCormick, 52, is the author of Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, released late last year, in which she reveals that her life was nothing like that of golden-haired Marcia and her idealized blended family. McCormick, who suffered for many years from drug addiction and depression, will share her experiences at the eighth annual Conversations event at APA's 2009 annual meeting in San Francisco. The session will be held Tuesday, May 19, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Exhibit Hall E in the Moscone Center.

"The Brady Bunch" aired from 1969 to 1974, and its catchy theme song stubbornly lives on in the minds of anyone who saw the show during its heyday or in reruns. In interviews with the media, she has said that she battled her depression through therapy, medication, and the support of her former "Brady Bunch" castmates.

"Playing Marcia was a double-edged sword; it always will be whenever you play a character like that," McCormick said on the" Today" show after publication of her book. "You will be known as that character forever. So much good came from being on the show, so much fun that I had. At the same time, it was weird because I felt like I had to show to the public that I was Marcia—perfect, with no problems. I didn't think I could be my imperfect self. I pretended I was Marcia, so I was always playing this role. I became her, but yet I wasn't. It's strange."

McCormick's career began at age 7 when she won the Baby Miss San Fernando Valley beauty pageant, launching her into TV commercials. Soon after came appearances in "Bewitched" and "My Three Sons."

McCormick said she hit rock bottom during "The Brady Brides." She was addicted to cocaine and Quaaludes and earned a reputation in Hollywood as being unreliable. She also suffered from depression and bulimia.

In 2007, after having gained a lot of weight, McCormick became a contestant on "Celebrity Fit Club" at her daughter's urging. The winner of the show's fifth season, she set a record for percentage of weight lost. She characterized her feelings of the experience as "cathartic" and started talking publicly about her other problems.

Since "The Brady Bunch," McCormick has continued to appear on television and Broadway and in movies.

Attendance at the Conversations event is free to all annual meeting registrants and is made possible by a charitable contribution from AstraZeneca to the American Psychiatric Foundation.

Past "Conversations" speakers have included Patty Duke, Brooke Shields, Mariel Hemingway, Greg Louganis, George Stephanopoulos, Tipper Gore, and Carrie Fisher.

A DVD of Patty Duke's interview from the 2008 annual meeting may be obtained by sending an e-mail request to apf@psych.org.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Maureen McCormick's struggles with drug addiction and depression began after her "Brady Brunch" years, but even that period wasn't free of personal strife. 

Credit: Jeffrey Vogeding

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