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

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: 264,746
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. 83 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.
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to believe Marcia Brady actually has a not-so-perfect life outside of her perfect Brady Bunch life. For those of use who were Brady Bunch fans and thought they all must lead such charmed lives this is a must read. You'll find it hard to put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enough already everything is not what they seemed she was not the girl next door read the book and you will look at both sides of a person i read the book in aday iliked itthough sick of only one view even papa brady was a fag and a fag with aids so dont judge a persons smile as when they grin too much they are often phonies (and im not talking rhe telephone)look more closely before you leap
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I asked for and received this book from my children for Christmas 2009 after listening to a brief radio interview with Barry Williams about Maureen's 'tell all' (that portion involving him.) I thought it would be a 'blast from the past' since I grew up watching 'The Brady Bunch.' I had misplaced the book and recently found it and started reading while on vacation. I struggled with the story almost immediately, continuing to read since I thought 'it must get more interesting soon.' By page 27, my attention was piqued by the grammatical errors and on page 34 there was a five line sentence which included five commas. I wondered if Ms. McCormick had hired a proofreader before this book was published. I also grew up in Woodland Hills, CA and, though Maureen is four years my senior, we attended the same Jr. High and High Schools. I began noticing factual discrepancies when she wrote, "...and had my first kisses on the hill behind the (Jr. High) school." This may have just been her way to geographically simplify things for the reader but the closest hill to that school is at least seven blocks away. By the time I reached page 79, I had lost complete interest in her mundane stories, which seemed to be embellished to fill the pages, and her unnecessary gossip about the other actors on the show. I chose to close the book at that point and have no interest in reading the remaining 200 pages. Though I applaud Ms. McCormick for overcoming her addictions and feelings of worthlessness (due to a character she played for only five years 35 years ago,) I prefer to spend my leisure time reading memoires written by people who have achieved much more than just pulling themselves back up after hitting rock bottom. She had so much more going for her than the thousands of 'nobodies' who have gone through similar or worse situations and I have yet to see those other unfortunates' memoires published for all to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Marcia Brady. She is the girl I have always dreamed of being-smart, stylish, athletic, pretty, popular, and with an extremely groovy and equally as awesome older brother, Greg, whom I have kinda always crushed on. I was a little reluctant to buy this book-i knew marcia had abused cocaine-but judging by the title of this book, I figured she would focus mainly on the Brady Bunch and not reveal her own personal and very private issues and information. Well i bought it and whoa. Although a very strong, generous, and loving person, maureen seems to feel it necessary to share every personal detail of her life and fling her doors wide open, starting with her mothers syphillis and her fathers affair to her own personal struggles with meth, cocaine, abortions, and bulliemia to her fiery temper and then-abusive control over her husband. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Maureen airs her dirty laundry so frequently it is almost innopropriate. On the plus side, as I mentioned before, Maureen is a kind, sweet, and gentle person in general, throwing no one under the bus and spreading happiness to the less fortunate. She knows she made some bad choices and presses on, ever lovingly, and her sweet motherly tone is difficult to abhor. My conclusion? Three and a half stars, but I'm rounding it to four. Maureens tale of helplessness and self-loss is sure to leave you sobbing into a mountain of Kleenex but her conclusion of joy and love is guaranteed to put a smile in your heart and prayer for her future as you realize we can do it after all if Marcia, Marcia, Marcia can. Reviewed by littlehousegirl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lked the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed the book...could not put it down. MAUREEN A VERY STRONG WOMAN. Her husband Michael a great and loving person. Loved the Brady Bunch growing up. Happy she is in a better place now. Left wondering how her father and Kevin are doing though. Great book. Written well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago