Kaley Cuoco has had such a long history in show business, it’s hard to remember the earlier projects that put her acting career on the map. Today she’s best known for her role as Penny in Big Bang Theory, but she had another iconic TV role well before that. No, we’re not talking about 8 Simple Rules.
Kaley Cuoco’s First Breakout Hit
The Flight Attendant star Kaley Cuoco has been acting since she was just a kid, with one of her breakout roles coming when she was 17 years old with 8 Simple Rules. We’d almost completely forgotten about the TV movie Cuoco starred in just two years before, Growing Up Brady.
Cuoco played Maureen McCormick, the actress behind the iconic character Marcia Brady, opposite Adam Brody who played Barry Williams. The movie was based on the real life Williams’ memoirs and included many behind-the-scenes secrets about the making of The Brady Bunch.
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‘Brady Bunch’ Nostalgia
For the premiere screening, Cuoco and Brody met up with Brady boys Williams, Christopher Knight, and Michael Lookinland for a cast photo. It’s truly shocking how young both Brody and Cuoco look in the photo, but especially Cuoco. She was only about 15 years old when this photo was taken, after all.
Honestly, we’d completely forgotten about this early role of Cuoco’s. Who could forget the scandalous movie which confirmed several long held rumors about romances on the set of the family sitcom, among other things. While the film largely stuck to the facts, as William saw things at least, there were some discrepancies between the film and the book.
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Williams wrote in his book, also titled Growing Up Brady, that he and McCormick first kissed each other while in Hawaii rather than in a limo on the way back from a The Who concert. Williams and McCormick’s flirtations in the “A Room at the Top” episode scene were also heightened for television, and the timeline was altered slightly.
Not Exactly The Critics’ Choice
Critics panned the made-for-TV movie at the time and Cuoco’s performance didn’t drum up much excitement, but the young actress was still able to hone her talents and soon returned to the small screen in 8 Simple Rules, which ran from 2002 to 2005. Afterward, she began picking up voice acting roles, a skill that served her well in the animated series Harley Quinn and Brandy & Mr. Whiskers.
While the film may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, it came at the height of nostalgia for the ’60s and the entertainment of that era. It also introduced audiences to a face they’d be seeing on TV often in the future thanks to her several starring roles in hit TV shows like, of course, Big Bang Theory.