Nation roundup for June 3
Mount Rainier climbers may never be recovered
SEATTLE (AP) — It may be weeks or months — if ever — before rescuers can get on the ground to search for six climbers who likely plummeted to their deaths high on snow-capped Mount Rainier in Washington state.
Park rangers and rescuers often are able to retrieve bodies within days of an accident, but sometimes it takes weeks or months, when conditions have improved and snow has melted on parts of the mountain.
Occasionally victims are never found, as in the case of 11 people swept to their deaths in an ice fall in 1981 in Mount Rainier’s deadliest accident. The same is true of a non-alpine accident in which a cargo transport plane crashed into the mountain in 1946 — the bodies of 32 Marines remain entombed.
“The mountain is so inaccessible and can be inhospitable. We can’t always retrieve everybody who is lost there, unfortunately,” said Patti Wold, a spokeswoman with Mount Rainier National Park.
The bodies of the two guides and four climbers who fell to their deaths last week on the 14,410-foot glaciated peak may never be recovered because of the hazardous terrain, authorities say.
“The degree of risk in that area, due to the rock fall and ice fall that’s continuously coming down from that cliff onto the area where the fall ended, we cannot put anybody on the ground,” Wold said.
It’s unclear whether the climbers were moving or camping at the time of the accident, Wold said this past weekend. Searchers located camping and climbing gear and detected signals from avalanche beacons buried in the snow at the top of the Carbon Glacier at 9,500 feet in elevation.
It’s also not known what caused the climbers to fall from their last known whereabouts at 12,800 feet on Liberty Ridge.
‘Brady Bunch’ actress Ann B. Davis, 88, dies
Emmy-winning actress Ann B. Davis, who became the country’s favorite and most famous housekeeper as the devoted Alice Nelson of “The Brady Bunch,” died Sunday at a San Antonio hospital. She was 88.
Bexar County, Texas, medical examiner’s investigator Sara Horne said Davis died Sunday morning at University Hospital. Horne said no cause of death was available and that an autopsy was planned Monday.
Bill Frey, a retired Episcopal bishop and a longtime friend of Davis, said she suffered a fall Saturday at her San Antonio home. Frey said Davis had lived with him and his wife, Barbara, since 1976.
More than a decade before scoring as the Bradys’ loyal Alice, Davis was the razor-tongued secretary on another stalwart TV sitcom, “The Bob Cummings Show,” which brought her two Emmys. Over the years, she also appeared on Broadway and in occasional movies.
Frey said Davis became part of his and his wife’s “household community” after she re-embraced her Christian faith and left Hollywood behind.
“The public image of her that people have is an accurate image of a strong, wonderful, lively human being,” he said. “The only part that’s inaccurate about that is she had trouble relating to small children, and she doesn’t cook.”
Asked if the friend he called “Ann B” ever missed her life as an actor, he replied: “Not once.”
Maureen McCormick, who played teenager Marcia Brady, said in a statement that Davis “made me a better person. How blessed I am to have had her in my life. She will be forever missed.”
In a blunt self-appraisal early in her career, Davis called her ordinary look an asset.
“I know at least a couple hundred glamour gals who are starving in this town,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1955, the year the Cummings show began its four-year run. “I’d rather be myself and eating.”
She said she told NBC photographers not to retouch their pictures of her, but they ignored her request and “gave me eyebrows.”
Producer Sherwood Schwartz’s “The Brady Bunch” debuted in 1969 and aired for five years. But like Schwartz’s other hit, “Gilligan’s Island,” it has lived on in reruns and sequels.
As “The Brady Bunch” theme song reminded viewers each week, the Bradys combined two families into one. Florence Henderson played a widow raising three daughters when she met her TV husband, Robert Reed, a widower with three boys.
In her blue and white maid’s uniform, Davis’ character, Alice Nelson, was constantly cleaning up messes large and small, and she was a mainstay of stability for the family.
“I think I’m lovable. That’s the gift God gave me,” Davis told The Associated Press in a 1993 interview. “I don’t do anything to be lovable. I have no control.”
Davis’ face occupied the center square during the show’s opening credits. Her love interest was Sam the Butcher, played by Allan Melvin.
“I’m shocked and saddened! I’ve lost a wonderful friend and colleague,” Henderson said in a statement Sunday.
Eve Plumb, who played Jan Brady on the series, called Davis “an amazing lady.”
“She was great to work with, and I have wonderful memories of our scenes together on ‘The Brady Bunch,’” Plumb said in a statement. “She was kind and generous to all of us on set.”
“The Brady Bunch” had a successful run until 1974, but it didn’t fade away then. It returned as “The Brady Bunch Hour” (1977), “The Brady Brides” (1981), “The Bradys” (1990). It even appeared as a Saturday morning spinoff (1972-1974).
“The Brady Bunch Movie,” with Shelley Long and Gary Cole as the parents, was a surprise box-office hit in 1995. It had another actress as Alice, but Davis appeared in a bit part as a trucker. It was followed the next year — without Davis — by a less successful “A Very Brady Sequel.”
Older TV viewers remember Davis for another non-glamorous role, on “The Bob Cummings Show,” also known as “Love That Bob.” She played Schultzy, the assistant to Cummings’ character, a handsome, swinging bachelor photographer always chasing beautiful women.
It brought Davis supporting actress Emmy Awards in 1958 and 1959.
After the series ended in 1959, Davis appeared in such movies as “A Man Called Peter,” ”Lover Come Back” and “All Hands on Deck.” During layoffs she played in summer stock.
Between her two better-known shows, she played a gym teacher at an exclusive girls’ school in 1965-66 in “The John Forsythe Show.”
During her stints in “The Bob Cummings Show” and “The Brady Bunch,” she used the layoffs to appear in summer theater with such shows as “Three on a Honeymoon.” She also toured with the USO to entertain U.S. troops in Korea and elsewhere.
She was born Ann Bradford Davis in 1926, in Schenectady, New York, and grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. She said she took to using her middle initial because “just plain Ann Davis goes by pretty fast.”
She was stage-struck since the age of 6 when she and her twin sister, Harriet, earned $2 with their puppet show. She attended the University of Michigan, joking that she was a premed student “until I discovered chemistry.”
She graduated in 1948 with a degree in theater and later joined a repertory theater in Erie, Pennsylvania. She told the AP in 1993 that she got her big break while doing a cabaret act in Los Angeles, singing and telling jokes.
“Somebody said, ‘Get your agent to call the new Bob Cummings show. They’re looking for a funny lady.’ Within three hours I had the job. That was January 1955. I had such fun with that show.
“I did a couple of pilots that didn’t sell, a few movies and one year of nightclub work, which I hated. Then I did the pilot of ‘The Brady Bunch’ and never had to do another nightclub.”
For many years after “The Brady Bunch” wound up, Davis led a quiet religious life, affiliating herself with a group led by Frey.
“I was born again,” she told the AP in 1993. “It happens to Episcopalians. Sometimes it doesn’t hit you till you’re 47 years old.
“It changed my whole life for the better. … I spent a lot of time giving Christian witness all over the country to church groups and stuff.”
She took a long sabbatical from the theater, largely limiting her performances to “Brady Bunch” specials and TV commercials.
In 1993, Davis returned to the theater, joining the touring cast of “Crazy for You,” a musical featuring the songs of George and Ira Gershwin.
Davis never married, saying she never found a man who was more interesting than her career.
“By the time I started to get interested (in finding someone),” she told the Chicago Sun-Times, “all the good ones were taken.”
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