Americans will always remember Ann B. Davis as Alice, the bustling, cheerful housekeeper from The Brady Bunch. Retired Episcopal bishop William Frey knew her as a woman who put her faith before all else – including her career in Hollywood. “She was honest, forthright, charitable – all the adjectives that you can imagine were a part of her character and life,” Frey says of the actress, 88, who died June 1 from a head injury after a fall at Frey’s San Antonio home, where she lived.
From the mid-1970s onward, after the end of her hit sitcom’s five-season run, Davis gravitated to a life of prayer and Bible study. She found a special spiritual kinship with Frey, whom she met in Denver in 1974, becoming part of his extended family, which included his wife, Barbara, and a group of like-minded Christians. She worked with the homeless, even doing laundry in a shelter. “I never heard a large voice from above saying, ‘Get out of show business, Ann,'” the never-wed Davis said in 1995. “I just found that my priorities had changed.” She held on to her two Emmys – for playing an assistant named Schultzy on The Bob Cummings Show in the 1950s – but was more mindful of church twice a week. “That,” says Frey, “was really the center of her life.”