As the ultimate cookie-cutter family, it’s not hard to see why the world fell in love with the Brady bunch: Mike and Carol, their six kids Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, and Cindy, and Alice, their wise-cracking housekeeper. But behind the immaculate doors of the television home was a real-life family who was just as wholesome.
Kelsey McCallister Whitmer, who put the property on the market after the death of her beloved grandma Violet McCallister, tells Australia’s Woman’s Day what it was like to grow up at 11222 Dilling Street, the address known affectionately to viewers as 4222 Clinton Way.
“It was really special,” says Whitmer. “My family just really embraced owning such an iconic home. And although privacy was important to my grandma, the fans were always very respectful, and she loved that they would want to take pictures. We always had so much fun seeing what was going on that day in front of her house.”
Whitmer says when her grandparents bought the house in 1972 for just $81,000, they could never have imagined that it would become one of the most popular tourist spots in LA. “They bought the house when The Brady Bunch show was airing, and it didn’t really do that well in the ratings. It really caught fire later on with the re-runs,” she says.
“My grandparents were just normal people, but they just loved it — especially my grandma. Every time The Brady Bunch was in the newspaper or TV Guide, she would proudly cut out the clipping. And she took great pride in maintaining the front of the house.”
The family happily welcomed the cast and crew over whenever they needed to film scenes outside the home. Whitmer’s grandma had a particular soft spot for Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady.
“She had a great rapport with the cast, especially Barry. He was her absolute favorite, and he would write her notes and letters — and she kept all of them,” she says. “When Florence Henderson died, there was a huge shrine to her. It was shocking to our family because when you’re part of it, you don’t understand how much people care about it.”
Whitmer says the home became the second most photographed in the US after the White House, with at least 30 to 40 visitors a day.
Even Whitmer became obsessed with the show. “I absolutely loved it. And I show it to my kids today,” she confesses. “We really feel The Brady Bunch has brought so much happiness to the world, so we just love that our family is associated with it.”
When she put the home on the market for $2.5 million, the agent started receiving 500 calls a day — but they only considered buyers who wished to keep the house intact. After being outbid by a Hollywood studio last week, ‘N Sync singer Lance Bass said he was “heartbroken” that he missed out on buying the home.
“We knew there would be some interest, but we didn’t dream that it would be this much,” says Whitmer. “My grandma would want nothing more than for the happiness that she had, to share it with the world.”
This article was originally written by Now to Love editors. For more, check out our our sister site, Now to Love.