Susan Olsen, who played Cindy on THE BRADY BUNCH (the youngest one in curls), will make her daytime debut on September 1 as Reed and Delia’s preschool teacher Liza Morton on Y&R. She follows some of her other Brady siblings who have already made their mark on soaps: Barry Williams (Greg) appeared on GH in 1984 as Hannibal, Robert Reed appeared on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW as Lloyd in 1986, Maureen McCormick (Marcia) played Rebecca on PASSIONS in 2000, Christopher Knight (Peter) had a short run in 1980 as Leigh on ANOTHER WORLD and will soon play Bridget’s doctor on B&B, and Eve Plumb (Jan) guest starred on DAYS in 2008 as Dora. Soap Opera Digest: Most of your TV siblings have done soap roles. Did you talk to any of them for your Y&R gig?
Susan Olsen: No. We talk to each other, but we don’t tend to talk about professional things, unless it’s something that involves all of us, like, “Why aren’t we getting paid for this?” That’s what our conversations have been lately. The whole age of digital streaming and it’s like, “Oh, dear, are we going get knocked out of residuals on that, too?” But we’re still very family-like and at least we have each other. Chris Knight and I went to a union meeting for the rest of our brethren. We are very much like family. We actually really like each other.
Digest: What’s going on with you in real life? Are you married? Have children?
Olsen: Thank God I’m not married [laughs]. I’m happily divorced. I have a son [Michael] who turned 14 and actually, at the moment, I have quite a few four-legged foster children.
Digest: As in animals?
Olsen: I’m involved with animal rescue and I’m on the board of directors for Precious Paws [www.preciouspaws.org]. It’s a cat rescue, but we also take in dogs. I’m the wet nurse of the group and I take in little orphaned, unweaned kittens. I nurse them to health and get them to the point where they’re big enough to be spayed and neutered and get adopted.
Digest: Do you own any pets?
Olsen: I have five cats and one dog. I’m babysitting my friend’s dog right. This will make you laugh, my friend is Erin Murphy, who played Tabitha on BEWITCHED. We hang out together.
Digest: What does your son think about you as Cindy? Does he watch BRADY BUNCH reruns?
Olsen: Not really. He finds it interesting. He like to tease me. He’s never watched it though, as a fan. It never quite grabbed him. Once he saw SOUTH PARK, there was no hope. He thinks THE BRADY BUNCH is really cute. He knows all the cast as Uncle Chris and Aunt Eve. He grew up very aware that we were pretending to be other people. So it’s more like, “Mom used to this job when she was a kid.” For some reason, it totally makes sense to him.
Digest: What did he think when you guys did the musical numbers in your groovy outfits?
Olsen: He says, “That’s one thing I’m ashamed of you for.” My son is a rock and roller so I just say, “I know, honey.”
Digest: Did he ever see the variety show, THE BRADY BUNCH HOUR?
Olsen: He did because I co-wrote a book about the variety show [Love To Love You Bradys]. I had to go through all the episodes. In fact, the three authors, we all got together and made ourselves watch all 10 episodes in a marathon. My son came through and said, “Oh, my God.” It’s so bad that it’s funny. If you watch it with other people, it’s really funny. The book is terrific. It’s a celebration of bad TV, but with good intentions behind it.
Digest: I’m ready for a Brady sing-along in the theaters.
Olsen: You know what, we were thinking of doing something like that, kind of like Rocky Horror Picture Show. We did one event at the Santa Monica library and a lot of people came and we did a panel thing. At the end, we showed selected scenes from the show and people were rolling on the floor, laughing. I think it would work really well to do something like that.
Digest: You’re playing a preschool teacher on Y&R, which sounds very tame. What would you say if they wanted your character to turn psycho?
Olsen: Oh, that would be what I want! No harming children, but if she were to go nuts and became an ax murderer, that would be wonderful!