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In The Pipeline:

She’s all about painting now

February 03, 2010|By Chris Epting

“People ask me, ‘Do you care if people buy one of your paintings because you’re Jan Brady?’ I say, ‘No, their money is still the same!’”

And with a girlish laugh, the attractive artist reveals, for a moment at least, a notable part of her past. But, refreshingly, she’ll never dwell on it.

Recently in this column, you read about Mary McDonough, who played Erin on “The Waltons” and lives locally and teaches acting to local youngsters (while still working in Hollywood). As if having one 1970s TV icon nearby wasn’t enough, McDonough told me about her friend, Eve Plumb, living in Laguna Beach. But on this day, here is Plumb in Huntington Beach, talking about art, “The Brady Bunch” and acting — but mostly art — because that’s what she does and that’s what is important to her.

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In a day and age when many TV icons spend so much time managing and dealing with their past, Plumb has moved gracefully forward, letting the past be just that.

Staring thoughtfully at her mug of coffee, she speaks with the philosophical weariness of someone who has lived it.

“It’s hard to get away from it sometimes,” she said. “If you let your past define you, it can drive you crazy. My attitude is, find the good in it, work it into what you do now, and that’s enough. I don’t have a big interest in constantly living in the past.”

Of course, one could easily forgive her if she did choose to wrap herself in the characters she brought to life over the years. Already something of a veteran child actor (“I could read and cry on cue when I was very young,” she said. “That helped a lot.”) by the time she was cast as Jan Brady in 1969, post-Brady, Plumb also starred in the made-for-TV movie “Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway,” “Little Women” and many other productions. She still acts when the part is right, but is far more at home with her paint, brushes and canvasses than she is with scripts and auditions.

Her still-life paintings (some of which are viewable online in a special gallery created for this column) are simple, elegant and introspective.

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