Henry Kissinger Tried to Impress His Daughter By Introducing Her to the Brady Bunch

She really wanted to meet the Partridge Family
Henry Kissinger Tried to Impress His Daughter By Introducing Her to the Brady Bunch

When one big star showed up at a taping of the popular 1970s sitcom The Brady Bunch, “the place went nuts, absolutely nuts,” according to the show’s producer Lloyd Schwartz. Who caused the commotion? Monkees star Davy Jones? Dreamy teen idol Desi Arnaz Jr.? Greg Brady’s rock-and-roll alter ego Johnny Bravo? Nope — it was Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

“The place was crawling with Secret Service types,” remembers Schwartz in Barry Williams’ memoir, Growing Up Brady: I Was A Teenage Greg. “I remember one of them was trying his best to hit on our makeup girl. And so I went over to Dr. Kissinger and I said, ‘Uh, sir, your Secret Service guy is putting the moves on our makeup girl, and I think he’s succeeding.’ With which Dr. Kissinger turned to me, smiled, and said, ‘He’s been taking lessons from the master — I taught him everything he knows.’”

Kissinger was perhaps the most unlikely ladies’ man of the 1970s. When he wasn’t carpet bombing Cambodia, he was linked to some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, including Shirley MacLaine, Marlo Thomas, Candice Bergen and Liv Ullmann. After he landed a date with Jill St. John for a Nixon fundraiser, he told reporters, “And you guys thought I’d been wasting my time out here in Hollywood.” 

His romantic appeal doesn’t appear to have been rooted in his good looks. “Power,” Kissinger famously said, “is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”

That begs the question: Why was one of the most powerful men on the globe hanging out on a studio stage with a bunch of sitcom kids? Was he trying to pick up Florence Henderson? Doing a cameo as himself, hiring Mike Brady’s architectural firm to redesign the Pentagon? 

“The answer, quite simply, is that he was trying to impress his daughter,” explained Greg Brady himself, Barry Williams. “She was a big Brady fan, and when she asked her father if he might arrange for her to meet us, he simply made a phone call, blew off an afternoon full of globally significant meetings, and arranged for the visit. I still find it nothing short of amazing that a man who was arguably the single most powerful politician in the world needed The Brady Bunch to impress his kid — sort of an eerie commentary on the power of the tube and its significance in the lives of American children.”


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