Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice

Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice

by Maureen McCormick


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The New York Times bestseller Here’s the Story is the poignant memoir of Maureen McCormick, who starred as the beloved Marcia Brady on the hit series The Brady Bunch. Maureen tells her shocking and inspirational true story, taking readers behind the scenes of one of America’s favorite television families, and to the dark side, where she was caught up in a fast-paced, drug-fueled, star-studded Hollywood existence that ultimately led to the biggest battle of her life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061490156
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/08/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 156,066
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Born in 1956, Maureen McCormick began her career at the age of six after winning the Baby Miss San Fernando Valley beauty pageant. She appeared in numerous commercials for brands such as Mattel and Kool-Aid, and performed in early episodes of Bewitched and My Three Sons before landing the starring role as Marcia Brady in the groundbreaking sitcom The Brady Bunch, which aired in prime time from 1969 to 1974. McCormick is also a singer and voice-over actor who has made a number of appearances in television and movie roles during her long career. She recently returned to television as a cast member of VH1's Celebrity Fit Club and won! She lives in Southern California with her husband and daughter.

Read an Excerpt

Here's the Story LP
Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice

Chapter One

The One Day When This Lady Met This Fellow

I wish my mother had been alive for my fiftieth birthday. I think my attitude would have surprised her. Rather than dreading the half-century milestone, I celebrated it. I embraced the idea of getting older. My family was around me all day. At night, they brought out a big cake and I blew out candles. We toasted . . . me!

I said silly things like "fifty is nifty." Several reporters called, wanting to know how Marcia Brady felt about turning fifty. Politely, I reminded them that Marcia Brady was still a teenager, but I, Maureen, created not in Sherwood Schwartz's imagination but in the womb of Irene McCormick, felt okay about it.

And no, I responded to another frequently asked question, I hadn't had any plastic surgery and didn't plan to. I borrowed Flip Wilson's line: What you see is what you get. It wasn't that bad. Despite the punishment I'd heaped on my body over the years, gravity had been kind to me. I didn't have many wrinkles, at least none that were undeserved. I had few complaints.

But those questions got me thinking. Why would I get surgically pulled, stretched, and Botoxed? When I looked in the mirror, I wanted to see me. The real me—warts, wrinkles, and everything else. I'd gone through hell and back to get to a place where I could, and indeed wanted to, look at myself—and like what I saw.

My mother had spent nearly her entire life doing the opposite, hiding from her past and trying to avoid the truth. It clouded much that sheshould've liked. A stay-at-home mother, she was a hard worker, with a good sense of people, good morals, and a good business sense.

Before the end, she came around and was much better and happier for it. By then, of course, much had happened.

My mother was born in 1921 in Burlington, Iowa, a small town along the Mississippi settled by German immigrants. Her father contracted syphilis while serving overseas during World War I, and he passed it on to her mother. She entered a mental institution with extreme paresis and died there without being able to recognize my mother or her younger sister.

A week after she entered the institution, my mom's father locked himself in the garage and breathed the exhaust fumes from his car. He died leaving his two girls inside the house. My mother was ten years old when she lost both of her parents. She and her sister moved in with an aunt and uncle. They were dedicated, devoted, and loving people. They provided my mother and her sister with a loving, nurturing home, though small-town life being what it was, my mother and her younger sister were still subjected to scorn. A year later, she was diagnosed with syphilis, an event that scarred her more psychologically than physically for the rest of her life.

It turned out she'd inherited the disease at birth from her mother. Following the diagnosis, she was warned not to tell anyone, ever, lest she be branded diseased and dirty. She didn't have to be told. From that first moment on, she felt dirty and diseased. It was the most shameful thing in the world to her. She was also frightened that she'd end up in an institution like her mother.

She was treated with stovarsol and mercury capsules, though both treatments caused a bad rash and later a more extreme skin condition. She ate her meals off a separate set of dishes. It was like wearing a scarlet A, only worse. At thirteen, she began special treatments at the State University of Iowa in Iowa City to ensure she would never pass the syphilis on to any children she might have. Those treatments lasted for three years and required long and lonely bus rides.

"At the time of her last visit here, on December 28, 1938, she seemed to be in good health, had been taking mercury and chalk fairly regularly, and had been going to her local physician for weekly Bismuth shots," her doctor wrote in a report. "Physical examination at the time of her last visit revealed a well-developed, well-nourished female. She was quite cooperative but acted rather self-consciously."

Despite everything, she did well in school, worked numerous odd jobs, and put herself through business college. She blossomed into a beautiful, intelligent, ambitious young woman. On the one hand, I picture her sitting on those long bus rides to the hospital: alone, scared, praying no one found out about her condition. On the other hand, I marvel at the strength she must have had; though she didn't show it, she was the strongest woman I've ever met.

At twenty, she fell in love and married a soldier who was immediately shipped off to Europe. A week later, he was killed in World War II when a German U-boat sank the transport ship he was on.

Devastated, she moved to the West Coast with her best girlfriend, Mary Crawley. They wanted to live in Hollywood, among the movie stars and fancy theaters. They dreamed of adventure, maybe even stardom. But they ended up fifteen miles away in Westwood, near UCLA. My mom didn't care. She was happy to be out of Burlington and away from the stares and stigma of her past.

My father, Richard, was the youngest of three children born to Joseph McCormick, a bartender in Riverside, New Jersey. His father was a heavy drinker who abused his wife. He lost everything in the Depression and died in his mid-thirties from illnesses related to alcoholism.

My father's mother did the best she could to raise her family, but they were very poor and at one point they had to burn furniture to keep warm in the winter. My dad spent most of his youth in a wheelchair, the result of osteomyelitis. By his late teens, though, his illness was gone. Near the end of World War II, he lied about his age and joined the Coast Guard. One day he was on deck, cooking for his shipmates, and his gas stove exploded, severely burning his leg.

Here's the Story LP
Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice
. Copyright © by Maureen McCormick. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Here's the Story 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
Greedo More than 1 year ago
PROs : For some reason I am a big fan of reading stories about celebrities who become addicted to drugs and have other issues like that. She goes into detail about some very personal issues, particularly her battle to locate and maintain a relationship with her father. There is some really tragic stuff that I won't spoil for you, but it will probably make your OWN problems seem a little less severe. CONs : She completely glosses over the Brady Bunch era. It felt like maybe half a chapter is spent talking about the behind the scenes stuff. Her writing style didn't really grab me. There was a LOT of name dropping throughout the whole book to the point where I'd just roll my eyes whenever she'd mention another B-level celebrity's name. I kinda skimmed through some paragraphs about Christianity. CONCLUSION : I really wanted to like this book and when I started I thought for sure it was gonna be a four-star story. But I was very disappointed that she practically skipped over her Brady Bunch years. I was looking forward to hearing about that era. But if you can live without detailed stories about "Marsha", and if you like stories about celebrities who have screwed up personal lives (I love stuff like that!), then give this book a try because it'll be right up your alley.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
She knew she definitely wasn't in Kansas any longer shortly after the hit television show The Brady Bunch ended. Maureen McCormick had played the part of the flawless elder daughter, Marcia, from 1969 to 1974. While she was Miss Perfection on the small screen she was quite the opposite in private life.

One of four children she grew up in a dysfunctional household - her father was an abuser who ran around. This disharmony left her with deep feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Despite the overwhelming popularity of the Marcia Brady character she portrayed Maureen did not feel liked much less loved.

Maureen had begun playing Marcia at the age of 14, and when the show closed she found herself a young actress in Hollywood with evidently nowhere to turn. What she did turn to was drugs. She became the ultimate party girl going to the Playboy Mansion and Sammy Davis, Jr's house. Sad to say she sank deeper and deeper into the quicksand of addiction until she offered sex for drugs.

However, more than happy to say that she is a survivor. It has taken the better part of her life but with the help of friends, medicine, and countless therapy sessions she has learned to accept who she is and find contentment. While her story is painful, frequently shocking, it also gives hope and courage to those who suffer. Listeners will be especially touched when they hear her voice tell us quite frankly how it was then and how it is now.

- Gail Cooke
AMIGIRL More than 1 year ago
I had this book read in less than 24 hours. I could not put it down. Boy....and we think we have a hard life sometimes huh? It's amazing how at times we think about doing something and don't, or delay doing it and end up paying a price. How many of us expect a perfect lifestyle, a perfect family especially when we go out of our way to accomplish such? Maureen teaches us in her book, that it is ok to make mistakes, it's ok to not be so perfect and thankfully even God forgives us when we do goof-up in a big way.

Thanks Maureen for sharing with us your ups and downs. Now my downs don't look so down anymore. God Bless You Always!

NormaHartie More than 1 year ago
Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, by Maureen McCormick, is a memoir of a woman made famous by her role in the Brady Bunch, as the eldest daughter, Marcia. The Brady Bunch aired from 1969-1974, when Maureen was 13-18 years old. The Brady Bunch was a wildly successful show that ran on Friday nights--I know, I looked forward to it every week.

McCormick struggles most of her life because of her role as "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia." (This now infamous line was uttered by the middle daughter, Jan, because she felt her older sister got all the attention.) McCormick writes: "Imagine being shadowed by a younger,prettier, more popular you," referring to her role as Marcia.

I mentioned that I looked forward to watching The Brady Bunch every week--now, I was 8 years old when it started and it was the first show of its kind. But, it was always a bit dippy and moralistic. For example, whenever one of the kids did the slightest thing wrong, the whole family had to gather and mom and dad would lecture. GAG.

The reason I mention this is that McCormick had a thing about being "imperfect" her entire life compared to the "perfect" Marcia. Now, I was a kid, but it was pretty obvious this was a TV show--not something real.

On the other hand, I would have killed to look like Marcia---thin, with long, straight, blond hair. Maybe that was the perfection part.

McCormick provides details of what it was like on the Brady set,including crushes and such. I felt that there were too many details--do we really care about when she first got her period and how it happened? Or that she was jealous that Eve Plumb developed breasts before her?

The book is enjoyable, don't get me wrong--but it gets 4 stars, not 5 because it should have been edited more. Too many details throughout, the book drags at times.

McCormick reveals her family history (her mother's dad had syphilis and passed it to her mother) and her own life that included drug use, bulimia, and depression.

When McCormick turned 50, she agreed to be on the Celebrity Fit Club, a reality series in which the stars try to lose weight. McCormick is very successful at losing weight and feels good about herself. She writes: "After spending my life worrying about what people thought of me, what they might think of me, and trying to present a certain image, I gave up and was just me."

Ultimately, Maureen McCormick was brave to share this revealing memoir with the world. If nothing else, it shows that perfection is an illusion and that we would all be much better off if we could simply accept ourselves for who we really are.

Nice work.

Wes14 More than 1 year ago
You know I read something about this book before I read it. I almost didn't read it cause I heard she had 2 abortions and I am 100% pro-life. However something told me I needed to read this book and I said just buy and read it what can I lose? I have to say I am so happy I did buy the book and then read it. I have depression and at the time I was in a bad place. This book has helped me and my depression to know that other people even "Marica Brady" has depression. I now look at Maureen Mccormick as my role model.
EmberA More than 1 year ago
I had no idea everything she went through. She has great strength and perseverance. She is a great woman.
DrAndy More than 1 year ago
McCormick's lack of detail seriously impaired my enjoyment of this book. Even the frequently lurid details were written in a bland manner, without inflection or any reason to care. This is a story of a spoiled girl who ruins her life and then successfully reconstructs it into something worth living, but without answering very many of the questions raised within the book.
BoundTogetherForGood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maureen McCormick isn't Marcia Brady.
24girl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Marcia, Marcia, Marcia." Oh how this line has plagued Maureen McCormick for years. Inside this book Maureen shares her life in shocking detail. To outsiders she was perfect. Cute, smart and stylish with the talent to match. To outsiders she was Marcia Brady. But few people were privy to the real person with real fears who spent a lot of time literally hiding in closets to escape her demons. From her humble beginnings as the voice of the Chatty Cathy Doll to her impressive win on Celebrity Fit Club, Maureen's life is chronicled with nothing held back. "Haunted by the perfection of her television alter ego, Maureen landed on the dark side, caught up in a fast-paced, drug-fueled, star-studded Hollywood existence that ultimately led to the biggest battle of her life."I'm amazed at how open Maureen was in this book. As she learned later in life, being open and sharing was the solution to bringing her the peace she never had growing up and even into adulthood. Her story of triumph over the demons that tore her live apart for so many years is encouraging in so many different ways. I highly recommend reading this book especially if you were a Marcia Brady fan or even just casually knowing the character as I did.
alanna1122 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I gave this a 3 star rating rather than the 2.5 it probably deserved because - well - I really enjoy reading Brady related stuff. So, for me it gets a .5 handicap.I am not a Brady-o-phile but I like so many other people my age grew up with them in syndication and they were a large part of my childhood memories. I have a fondness for all of them and a curiosity about how they all turned out. I read the book by Greg that came out years ago and thought this would be a fun read. Marcia was never my favorite - but in my head she seemed like on and off-screen she was always the most together. This book but that misapprehension to rest. Turns out Maureen had some truly horrendous years following the end of the series and turned to hard drugs. It was surprising and saddening to hear how much she went through.The book reads like a therapeutic project. She spills out all this bad stuff she has been hiding for reason of pride, career and family. There is not a lot of finesse to how her story is told .I feel pretty certain she didn't use a ghost writer because the writing for the most part is really amateurish. Almost every chapter ends with a silly cliff hanger-y line like..."He had to see it all - and boy, did he ever...""Neither of us knew it, but I was going to need more than I'd ever imagined."It is a book only someone who has an curiosity about Maureen McCormick should seek out. It doesn't stand on its own in any other way. But with that caveat given - it is totally fine - take it to the beach or pool with you.
chutzpanit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting book--I really didn't know much about any of the actual characters of the show so it was interesting to read in-depth details about a challenging life that has seemed to end on a positive role.
purplg8r on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I grew up watching Brady Bunch re-runs, so I was excited to read this book. I had no idea that Maureen went through so many hardships. I guess I was naive, but I thought she was more Marcia-ish. This story shows that she had a completely different life outside of what was seen on the screen.
goldiebear on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be quite engrossing. Who knew Marcia Brady was a cocaine addict. Yes, the book was also very sad. I think Maureen McCormick is probably still pretty messed up, even though she tried to tie the book up in a happy ending. I am not so sure I buy it. I did however like that she really barred all this memoir. I really found it fascinating. The only complaint I had was that chronologically she jumped around a lot. I had a hard time keeping track of what year it was. She would tell a story about something that happened in the 1984 and then a few paragraphs later would talk about something that happened either earlier or later and then come back to 1984. Other than that, I was actually impressed with her writing. Every easy to read, yet again, very engrossing. For anyone who likes the Brady Bunch or is even interested in the 1970¿s or who just likes a good memoir, I would recommend this.
Nitestar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Brady Bunch was a show that I discovered only in reruns as I was a little young when it first aired. By the time I did watch it, I was in my teens and thought the whole show was a bit of a joke and could not understand its cult following - however, over the years, it somehow kept resurfacing and despite myself, I got to know a little bit about each of the Brady kids. When I saw that Maureen McCormick was publishing her memoirs, I thought it would be interesting to read as I always thought she was the most interesting character on the show - and always felt that there was alot lurking behind the "good girl, hair of gold Brady".As soon as I started reading, I absolutely fell in love with the pace, the tone and the overall story being told. The first thing I noticed (and was eternally grateful for) was that although Maureen does touch on her childhood, she does not go on and on about it for half the book. She basically gives us the highlights (which includes some surprising facts about her siblings and her parents) and then moves on to her early career. Yes, she does spend some time on her "Brady days" but tends to gloss over some of the key elements that I believe would have been fun to read. She does go into quite alot of detail about the "crushes/kissing/fondling" that happened among the Brady kids, but I would have liked to hear more about the dynamics behind the scene - that did not necessarily relate to the teenage lust that seemed to be rampant. I would have like to find out more about the chemistry of the actors, some funny onset stories would have been nice. There is a minimal amount of this type of thing - it seems as though the Brady kids were all about "teenage lust" which is okay - but I felt there could have been a little bit more substance here. Besides which, somebody is going to have to explain to me why every girl (including Maureen) had a thing for Greg? I mean, the guy is really average looking in my opinion!!!However, what comes after the Brady years is really where you find the heart and soul of Maureen McCormick. Its going to be hard for me to write this review without giving away any of the spoilers, but I had NO IDEA just how far down she fell before she found the strength to pick herself up. To her credit, she exposes every raw nerve in this memoir and makes a point of saying that SHE alone is responsible for the situation(s) she got herself into. I have to say that she must have had a fairy godmother looking over her - because she really got herself into some horrible situations.The writing here is exceptional and we get a very clear picture of just how screwed up Maureen was. When she talks about her meeting with her future husband, you can actually feel the tone of the writing change - there is hope and love in the writing.Maureen McCormick needs to be commended for writing an honest, raw memoir. She could easily have gone the other way and written some bubblegum account of her life. Writing memoirs are always tricky because you can't or won't divulge other people's involvement in your life and Maureen has done an excellent job of keeping the focus on her and not on the "other" celebrities that she talks about in her book.I read alot of these types of books and I can't encourage you enough to run to the bookstore for this one.
maggieball on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was loaned to me by an enthusiastic friend who told me that Maureen's story was very similar to the one I wrote in Sleep Before Evening. I found the book, which I read in a few days, pretty cheesy, cliche ridden, and superficial (she should have gotten a better ghostwriter), but despite all that, it was engrossing enough to distract me away from Salman Rushdie for a while, and there's a kind of open sincerity in Maureen's prose that is engaging enough.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the prologue, Maureen McCormick starts with when she came out of the woodwork to appear in the reality show Celebrity Fit Club. Then she begins a chronological story of her life as a child appearing in many commercials, especially for Mattel, on to the Brady Bunch years, her unsuccessful attempts to achieve acting status beyond Marcia Brady, her eventual success on Broadway and her life now. She gets into the nitty-gritty describing her early introduction to drugs and sex, her eventual addiction to cocaine throughout the seventies and eighties and then her life current life as a born-again Christian. She talks of her struggles with her dysfunctional family and her love for her mentally challenged brother. Maureen names names but keeps a respectful tone by concentrating on her own troubles and not dwelling on others. In once instance she uses a pseudonym for a famous person she was involved with in the drug/sex scene.I found Maureen's tone and narrative extremely readable. Her story of her childhood is written with a child-like wonderment as she entered the life of show business and became a cultural icon. Her voice becomes more mature as she herself matures and she presents herself as someone who can take the blame for her own actions. Not often do I find biographies page-turners. I love entertainment memoirs but non-fiction doesn't often grip me to that extent. But this book was one I couldn't put down, I kept picking it up in favour over the fiction book I was co-currently reading. While the book only partially concerns the Brady years, (which I wish there was more of) any fan of the show is bound to enjoy this look at the behind the scenes aspects, to find out what the real Marcia Brady was like, and whatever happened to her.
Meggo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maureen McCormick has gone through a lot in her life, and seems to now be in a good place, with a loving husband and daughter. Her road to this point, however, was a long and complicated one, full of insecurity, bulimia, drug addiction, and neuroses. While I empathize with the struggles that she faced, it is somewhat difficult to be completely supportive of her success with the opportunities she was given. I found by the end of the book that I was no longer rooting for McCormick, because she turned into a self-righteous god-fearing woman who was somehow less interesting and less empathetic. I am sure she is very nice in person, but I don't need to read about her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book overwhelming.....I mean we hold these celebs to such a high's easy to forget they're homo sapiens just like us....I was astounded when I'd read about the tormented relationship between her and her family....specifically her mother, father, and her dominating brother, Kevin! I recommend this book to anyone who've enjoyed watching The Brady Bunch such as I....and still I!?
Kaits_Bookshelf More than 1 year ago
I’ve long been a fan of celebrity memoirs as I find it fascinating to learn about what really went on behind the scenes on TV shows and movie sets. I thought Maureen’s story sounded interesting, and it turns out that is putting it mildly! Maureen didn’t have Mike and Carol Brady as parents, and her problems couldn’t be solved in thirty minutes. Maureen had dark, hidden family secrets she was held captive to much of her life. Maureen was a far cry from her alter-ego, Marcia. Marcia was perfect. Maureen was human. In her memoir, she opens up about her parents’ marriage, her mentally challenged brother, another brother’s drug problems and personal struggles, and her real relationships with her famous Brady co-stars. I found myself reading this book just amazed at Maureen’s story. Not only is Maureen’s life the farthest thing from Marcia’s, but Maureen’s desire and ability to share her life, her struggles, and her strength in surviving it all, is truly amazing to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who was ever a Brady fan, anyone who has ever struggled with addiction, and anyone who wants to learn about an amazingly strong woman. Read full review at:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it and this is one reason why maureen inspires me its a great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Teenster More than 1 year ago
I like reading autobiographies of actors/entertainers so when I found this one, I knew I had to read it! She's been through a lot. Nice to see she turned out okay...Now, I need to read the Barry Williams one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I didnt realize that she had such a messed up life! I actually read this book in conjunction with Anthony Keidis's autobiography "Scar Tissue" and I have to say she was EVEN MORE messed up then he was! Its a really good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amanda_P More than 1 year ago
A very interesting story. I was moved by the author's demons and battle to conquer them. Not much info on the Brady Bunch though.