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Barry Williams, 69, on ‘Dancing With the Stars’: ‘I’m Happy to Be Advancing’

We don’t know if he’ll score the coveted mirrorball trophy, but he has already won the hearts of countless fans


spinner image brady bunch star barry williams and peta murgatroyd compete on dancing with the stars
'Brady Bunch' star Barry Williams and Peta Murgatroyd compete on 'Dancing With the Stars.'
Christopher Willard/Disney via Getty Images

Many have loved Barry Williams for decades, since he first appeared on our TV screens as Greg Brady on the iconic show The Brady Bunch. But Williams is earning legions of new fans impressed with the dance moves and determination he has displayed as a contestant on the current season of Dancing With the Stars.

Williams, 69, seems to be this season’s sentimental favorite, his endearing personality winning over the judges and prompting strong viewer support — a valuable advantage when audience voting helps decide contestants’ fate.

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We chatted with Williams during a brief break from rehearsals as he prepared for a grueling week in the competition — while celebrating having made it to the season’s halfway mark.

Q: Your TV mom Florence (Henderson) and your TV sister Maureen (McCormick) were both on the show. Did they give you any insights from their experience?

A: Well, Florence (Carol on The Brady Bunch) inspired my interest, really, to do the show. I participated in one of her segments [on DWTS]. She was a mentor all through my life, and she knew my theatrical background. And she said, “I really feel this is a good fit for you.” I feel her presence every week. And Maureen (Marsha on The Brady Bunch) has been very supportive. I get lots of texts and emojis every week. 

Q: It’s perfect timing for us to talk to you because AARP got a few mentions by judges Carrie Ann (Inaba) and (guest judge) Paula Abdul after your performance this week. So we’re all part of the AARP club.

A: Yeah, bring it on.

Q: You just turned 69 and celebrated your birthday during filming, but you seem to be holding your own against younger contestants.

A: This is one of the things that I wanted to bring to the table. Clearly, I am the senior member here. Most of them are at least 30 years younger or more. And in one or two cases, like 50 years younger. But that’s not the card I want to play. I want to be out on the floor, just giving it my all and seeing where that takes me, and so far it’s working out.

Q: You have said that you wanted to be on the show for a long time and it was on your bucket list. Why was it so important?

A: It’s such a great combination of energies — the ballroom dancing, learning something that’s outside my wheelhouse. So the challenge, I think, really appealed to me. The entire production is a very stimulating show to be a part of. Most of the 500 people that work on this show have been here more than 10 years, and many have been here since the beginning.

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Q: You seem to be the sentimental fan favorite, which has got to feel great and give you a little bit of a boost.

A: You bet it does. It’s validating. You know, all these years, people tell me that they grew up with me. And, of course, that goes both ways. I grew up with them. And this is an audience that, whether it’s through my music or through my theatrical productions or through television, that have stayed with us, and now they’re coming through.

spinner image brady bunch star barry williams in costume on the set of dancing with the stars
Barry Williams on the set of 'Dancing With the Stars.'
Eric McCandless/Disney via Getty Images

Q: What has been the most challenging part so far?

A: So much of the responsibility has to do with attitude and enthusiasm and energy, and I’m just full of it. I’m really, really happy to be here and happy to be advancing. I’ve got the greatest partner [DWTS pro Peta Murgatroyd]. I love the way that we approach the music. Because it’s not just steps, it’s not just counting, Peta brings all the strict ballroom technique, but we start off listening to the music, understanding it, learning its builds, its bridges, its own emotion. And then we apply the steps to the music, and then we talk about characters because she and I are both interested in interpreting the song as well. Those are roles. It’s your characters, those people that we're playing, and it’s a very full experience.

Q: You’re getting ready for Whitney Houston Night, where you will do a rumba to “Didn’t We Almost Have It All.” How are you feeling going into next week?

A: The rumba is a wonderful dance. It’s a smoother dance, which I enjoy, and there is a frame for some of it. … I’m looking forward to this day of rehearsal, because there are a lot of things I want to go home with tonight. But it’s a wonderful song to be dancing and interpreting, and we’re looking forward to it.

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