Early life and career
Barry was born in 1954 in Santa Monica, California, to Doris May Moore and Canada-born Frank Millar Blenkhorn of English, Scottish, and German ancestry Williams decided as a child that he wanted to be an actor, and in 1967, he made his television debut in an episode of Dragnet.
Williams continued to be cast in guest roles on other TV series including Adam-12, The Invaders, That Girl, Mission: Impossible, The Mod Squad]], Here Come the Brides and Bartleby, the Scrivener before being cast in 1969, when he cast as Greg Brady on The Brady Bunch. As the eldest of the show's six children, his story lines often involved his romances. As Greg Brady reached his teenage years, the show's producers began to groom and promote Williams as a teen idol.
Following the cancellation of The Brady Bunch in 1974, Williams found he was unable to attract the type of high profile roles that might have expanded on his earlier career success. He continued to appear in guest roles on television, and became involved in musical theater, touring with productions such as Grease, The Sound of Music, and West Side Story. He also unsuccessfully attempted to establish a career as a recording artist.
In 1988, Barry appeared on Broadway in the musical Romance/Romance with Tony Award-nominee Alison Fraser. Williams took over the lead male role of "Alfred/Sam" when Scott Bakula (later of NBC's Quantum Leap and TBS's Men of a Certain Age fame) left the production. Years later, Williams was able to capitalize on being typecast as Greg Brady. Amid a procession of appearances in TV and movies that played up his famous teen role, he ended up landing a role that was a departure from the Brady image. He was tapped to play English con man Hannibal in 1984, who conspired with Holly Sutton Scorpio (Emma Samms) on the top-rated General Hospital. Although the appearance was well-received, Williams was not asked back after his initial story arc was concluded.
Barry has appeared in various Brady Bunch TV movie reunions, including the 1988 Christmas movie, A Very Brady Christmas, in which his sole family problem is missing his wife, Nora. The issue with his wife is solved when Nora shows up at the Brady house on Christmas, poinsettia in hand.
In 1989, Barry was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award for his role as Greg Brady.
His 1992 autobiography, Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg, co-written with Chris Kreski, stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for three months. The book was adapted into a 2000 TV movie titled Growing Up Brady starring Adam Brody as Williams. During the production of the movie, Barry managed to find the original tiki idol (which was thought to have been lost after the original Brady set was destroyed in an earthquake) from the Hawaii episodes in a Paramount prop room and as of 2016, it still remains in his possession.
In 2000, Barry sang a parody of the Eminem hit single, "The Real Slim Shady", called "The Real Greg Brady" co-written by comedy writer and radio producer, David Brody, and Jay Gilbert of Froggy Radio in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2001-2002, he played Manager Dean "The Machine" Strickland in 13 episodes of the sitcom, S Club 7 in Hollywood, which featured the British pop group S Club 7.
Williams appeared briefly as an audience member in the 2002 music video of Peter Gabriel's song, "The Barry Williams Show", which ironically is not about the actor as Gabriel later revealed that he did know of Williams when he wrote the song.Additionally, Williams appeared in the 2002 song, "Oakland Raiders", by San Francisco rap group, Luniz, delivering a humorous monologue as the track fades out which asserts his status as a pimp and fondness for big dank (slang for cannabis). In 2002, Barry participated on the FOX television show, Celebrity Boxing, in a boxing match between him and former Partridge Family star, Danny Bonaduce, but lost to Bonaduce who holds a black belt in martial arts.
Williams played himself in the 2003 film, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, about the plight of a former child star who finds himself unemployed.
Barry also appeared with his former Brady Bunch co-star, Christopher Knight (who co-starred with Barry on The Brady Bunch as Peter Brady), on a 2006 episode of the Fox network sitcom That '70s Show. He and Knight played a gay couple who moved in next door to the Formans. He and Knight have remained close friends since their Brady Bunch days, and he appeared in several episodes of Knight's reality show series My Fair Brady.
In December 2007, he launched a fan portal named "The Greg Brady Project". The site features ongoing conversations with Barry, fans and other celebrities.
In 2008, Williams appeared in Episode 6 of the VH1 series, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Williams participated as a friend of one of the patients, Chyna, and explained to her during a group session how her drinking had a negative impact on his own life and career.
On October 17, 2010, Williams took part in the judging panel for Classical Academies Got Talent, a contest between talents from three public charter schools in Escondido, California. The judging took place at the Moonlight Amphitheatre located in Vista, California.
In 2011, Williams starred as the camp director for Camp Playboy. Camp Playboy is a show about Playboy girls having topless slumber parties, water fights, and au natural hikes in the nude.
Williams also has created a cabaret act that pays tribute to his past and currently hosts the satellite radio trivia show, The Real Greg Brady’s Totally '70s Pop Quiz starring Barry Williams, broadcast Saturdays on Sirius Satellite Radio's "Totally '70s" channel.
In late 2011, Williams started appearing in a show at the Yakov Smirnoff theater in Branson, Missouri. The show is a musical variety show that showcases Barry's singing abilities along with clips, videos, and stories from his time on The Brady Bunch.
- Family Tree
- "10th Annual Youth in Film Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. http://www.youngartistawards.org/pastnoms10.htm. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Season 1, Episode 6, VH1.com, accessed February 28, 2011.
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