Susan Marie Olsen (born August 14, 1961) is a former American child television actress, current animal welfare advocate, radio host, and a creator of pop art. Olsen is best known for her role as Cindy, the youngest daughter of Mike and Carol Brady (played by Robert Reed and Florence Henderson) on 1970s television sitcom The Brady Bunch for the full run of the show, from 1969 to 1974.
Olsen was born in Santa Monica, California, the youngest of four children. They are Larry (24 years older), Christopher (14 years older), and Diane (5 years older). Christopher was also a child actor, perhaps best known for his role in The Man Who Knew Too Much.
The Brady Bunch:
After landing a number of supporting roles in television, most notably in Ironside, Gunsmoke, and Julia, at age eight she was cast as Cindy on The Brady Bunch.
As an adult, Olsen has expressed that portraying Cindy made friendships difficult for her as a child. Olsen has said that the episode she dislikes the most is the second-season "tattletale" episode, in which Cindy incessantly snitches on her siblings. Because of the episode, she was shunned by her real-life peers, who did not understand the difference between actors and their characters.
Olsen has appeared in all Brady Bunch reunion movies with the exception of A Very Brady Christmas in 1988, because she was on her honeymoon with her first husband. In that movie, Cindy Brady was played by Jennifer Runyon.
In 2005, VH1 ranked Susan Olsen #34 in The 100 Greatest Kid Stars of television and film.
In 2007, Olsen and her fellow cast members were honored with the TV Pop Culture Award on the TV Land Awards. It was noted that this is the only award that The Brady Bunch has ever won.
During production of The Brady Bunch, it was noted that even though her on-screen father, star Robert Reed, was suffering a great deal of unhappiness both on and off the set, Olsen continued to develop a wonderful on- and off-screen relationship with him, as well as with Florence Henderson, who played her on-screen mother. Olsen remained close to Reed until his death on May 12, 1992. She, along with her Brady Bunch castmates, attended Reed's funeral.
After The Brady Bunch:
As an adult, Olsen moved into the graphic design business and in 1998 briefly marketed a brand of glow-in-the-dark shoes for Converse. She also worked as a talk show host at Los Angeles radio station KLSX from 1995 to 1996 with Ken Ober, and co-hosted and co-wrote another radio show with comedian Allan Havey at Comedy World in 2000.
She appeared on Cartoon Network's talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast in its 26th episode "Switcheroo" with Cassandra Peterson as "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark". Olsen has also been an advocate for migraine sufferers since 1998. She described her headaches on Larry King Live.
An urban legend claimed that Olsen had become an adult film star. In a late 1990s television interview, Olsen stated that her "porn" connection was that she created space ship sound effects for a porn film called Love Probe from a Warm Planet. She did this as a favor for a friend who worked in the technical side of the business. She went on to state that perhaps the legend got started because the star of the porn film Crocodile Blondee, which was widely distributed among troops during the Persian Gulf crisis, was rumored to be her. She added that since the porn star was very pretty, she did not try too hard to dispel the rumor.
In the fall of 2008, Olsen appeared on Fox Reality's Gimme My Reality Show, in which celebrities compete to win their own reality show. Susan used this vehicle to make a statement about animal rescue, a cause with which she is thoroughly involved.
On June 6, 2009, Olsen thanked retired game show host and current animal rights activist Bob Barker when The Bradys accepted an honor at the GSN Awards. Olsen is an animal welfare advocate and serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit organization Precious Paws, a rescue group. Olsen personally cares for unweaned homeless kittens until they are old enough to adopt.
Olsen's coffee-table book Love to Love You Bradys celebrates the The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. In addition to many color photos and artwork, the volume features over 100 interviews with Brady Bunch cast members, Sid Krofft, Marty Krofft, Sherwood Schwartz, Bruce Vilanch, Rip Taylor, and Paul Shaffer.
In September 2010, Olsen made a guest appearance on The Young and the Restless playing Mrs. Liza Morton, the owner of a pre-school.
In 2011, Olsen appeared in Season 3, Episode 43 of The Biography Channel's reality show Celebrity Ghost Stories.
While pursuing her numerous passions, Susan Olsen has continually turned to art as a creative outlet. Olsen's art collection, called "Fluffart," has been curated into a collection made available in limited editions.
As an animal welfare advocate, Olsen has also created a collection of art entitled "The Art of Rescue," with proceeds assisting animals in rescue organizations until they are able to be adopted.
In July, 2012, Susan Olsen was one of a limited number of artists invited to show in "Art with an Agenda: An Exhibit Inspired by Kelly Thomas" at the PAS Gallery in Fullerton, California. All the art on display was inspired by the life and circumstances surrounding the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless, schizophrenic, 37-year-old man who was brutally beaten by members of the Fullerton Police Department on July 5, 2011. Olsen's piece created for this exhibit was titled "Still Life," and received critical praise, furthering Olsen's career as a relevant and respected contributor in the art world.