Question: I need your help in settling a dispute between me and my neighbor, a so-called Brady Bunch expert. After watching the recent broadcast of The Weakest Link with the cast from The Brady Bunch, my neighbor indicated that the actress who played Cindy Brady on the TV show actually died a few years ago and that the person who was on the The Weakest Link was actually the actress who played Cindy in the made-for-TV Brady movies and the short-lived sitcom in the late '80s or early '90s. I told her she was wrong and that, in fact, the actress who played Cindy on the original sitcom is alive and well and appeared on the game show. Please help settle this friendly neighborhood bet. Steve C., Woodbury, Minn.
Televisionary: Boy, what are we coming to when poor Susan Olsen appears on TV and people like your neighbor still insist she's dead? Well, Steve, you just tell little miss "expert" that it was indeed the original Cindy doing her darndest to stand up to Link's acidic bully and host, Anne Robinson.And for the record, that Cindy-is-dead rumor's been floating around for years. As TV Guide reported in 1999, the story that the actress was dragged to her death when her coat got caught in a bus door began in the '70s after an accident was reported involving an unfortunate woman who shared her name. "I always liked being rumored to be dead, because it put me in company with, like, Paul McCartney," she told the magazine. "If you watch one of the Brady Bunch episodes backwards, you can hear Greg saying, "I buried Cindy." Just for the record, the other, more unseemly rumor that Olsen did some time in the porn industry isn't true, either. It may have come about because she played an X-rated actress on Divorce Court in 1983 and also shared a striking resemblance with the lead "actress" in the 1986 adult film Crocodile Blondee. In reality, Olsen has worked as a graphic artist and L.A. radio host, and is a full-time mom.