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Susan Olsen

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Many former child stars hate being associated with the old shows that made them famous. Susan Olsen doesn't share that sentiment today, but she certainly understands. "It's like a tattoo," she says. "It doesn't wash off." Olsen's claim to enduring pop-culture fame is as Cindy Brady, the youngest member of "The Brady Bunch."

There is a stage that many former kid actors go through: They grow to hate the old shows that never seem to go away. They struggle to "bust out" of personas that leave them typecast and unable to find new acting jobs.

Olsen, 37, got out of the business for those reasons.

"In my late teens, early 20s, I had intended to go on and do acting," she says. "But I got out because I really didn't want the sort of career it seemed I was going to have to have. You know, one of these `Love Boat' acting careers."

Instead, she turned to graphic design. (Her biggest success in that field: a line of glow-in-the-dark, animal-print sneakers she designed and licensed to Converse.) More recently, she was a talk-radio personality in Los Angeles.

But she says she never grew to resent having playing "the youngest one in curls."

"I'm definitely not one of those bitter former kid actors," Olsen says. "I mean, it's not something I'd really want to dwell on too much. But I'm going to have to be in a lot of denial if I choose to believe I can get by in life without ever talking about `The Brady Bunch.'"

That's probably true now more than ever, given that "The Brady Bunch" (1969-74) has become a programming staple on Nick at Nite.

But it's worth noting that unlike many sitcoms of the 1970s, this innocuous sitcom about a blended family of eight (nine, if you count Alice, the housekeeper) doesn't owe its popularity today strictly to '90s-era nostaligia.

After all, the Bradys never stopped being popular.

"It's the only show in the history of television that has five different TV series come out of it," Olsen notes. "Some of those series are very obscure and I don't think a lot of people even know they existed. Like the variety show that we did and the show called `The Brady Brides.' The show just won't die."

Olsen even traded a bit on that when, in 1995, she produced a "Brady" special, after which she tried her hand at the talk-radio business. "My partner was Ken Ober and we used to come on every morning right after Howard Stern, which is a tough act to follow," she says.

But she eventually quit that to focus her attention on marriage and motherhood (she has a two-year-old). "I deliberately waited until later in my life to have children so I could be the one to raise them. And I have to say: It's great being a mom."

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