05/10/07 — Barry Williams shares acting tips

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Barry Williams shares acting tips

By Winkie Lee
Published in News on May 10, 2007 1:46 PM

"OK ... how many of you had crushes on Greg Brady?" Richard Lambert asked the women seated at the back of the Arts Council board room Wednesday night.

The question was answered with smiles and raised hands.

"I'm free again!" Barry Williams responded.

Williams, the actor who played Greg Brady on the television series, "The Brady Bunch," is in Goldsboro to participate in Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's Wings Over Wayne. At Lambert's request, he gave a workshop for children who participate in Stagestruck and school plays.

Some of the children were accompanied by their parents.

Williams volunteered his time. He also insisted on paying for his own transportation to Wayne County for the air show, Lambert said.

Williams is best known for his role as Greg Brady, in part, because the show has been on the air every day since 1973. Each episode has been aired more than 173,000 times, Williams said.

But "The Brady Bunch" -- and its reunion shows and cartoon -- are far from all he has done.

He has acted in movies, numerous television series and theater. He has his own radio show, "The Barry Williams Show," on Sirius Satellite Radio. He is a television producer, a singer and a book author. He has done a one-man show based on his book, "Growing Up Brady." He has written, produced and performed in three Christmas USO tours.

He has traveled to 60 countries, and enjoys touring the United States the best.

On Wednesday alone, Williams attended a briefing at Seymour Johnson, flew in an F-135, attended a meet and greet, had lunch, did his radio show and talked with the young people at the Arts Council.

It's a busy schedule he keeps, and he does so by scheduling one day at a time ... and by loving it.

The importance of enjoying one's work was part of Williams' message Wednesday.

"Keep it fun," he said.

For those who believe they want to be actors and actresses, he recommended being involved in local theater and seeing if they enjoy it.

If they do and they decide they want to make it their profession, there will come a time when they have to go to where the work is: Los Angeles and New York.

Williams knew from age 4 that he wanted to be on television, and he became a professional at age 11. It was an eye-opening experience.

"I found out that show biz isn't anything like what originally attracted me to it," he said.

As an actor, Williams most enjoys the theater because it is not as compartmentalized as television and movies. Everyone on and off the stage is working together to tell a story, he said. He has performed in 75 musicals.

He told his audience that the life of an actor is complicated.

"There aren't any sure ways of doing it," he said.

An actor gets a job, it's over, then he looks for another one.

"I keep myself busy by diversifying," he said.

He said actors and actresses need to understand that rejection is part of the business and that keeping a good attitude helps.

"Most of the jobs I interview for, I don't get," he said. "If I get one in seven interviews, that's a pretty good year."

Not getting a job doesn't mean that one isn't talented. It could be that the chemistry isn't there or the show is being moved in a new direction.

It could even relate to hair color.

Williams recalled how three blonde actors and three brown-haired actors were chosen for the Brady boys. Once it was determined that Robert Reed would play the role of the father, the three brown-haired boys were hired.

Many of the questions Williams received Wednesday dealt with "The Brady Bunch," and he doesn't mind that people continue to associate him with the show.

He and the other actors and actresses remain friends, he said, in part because of the reunion shows that have helped them stay in touch.

And Williams has not lost his love for his profession.

"It does feel like a calling," he said. "I love its diversity, its drama, the musical aspect ... There's a high octane energy in it. ... It's energetic communication."