82 (passed away Nov. 24th, 2016)
Feb. 14th, 1934
Dale, Indiana, USA
Florence Henderson's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Florence Agnes Henderson (February 14, 1934 ~ November 24, 2016) was an American actress and singer with a career spanning six decades. She is best remembered for her starring role as matriarch Carol Brady on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974. Henderson also appeared in film as well as on stage and hosted several long-running cooking and variety shows over the years. She appeared as a guest on many scripted and nonscripted (talk and reality show) television programs and as a panelist on numerous game shows. She was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2010. Henderson hosted her own talk show, The Florence Henderson Show, and cooking show, Who's Cooking with Florence Henderson, on Retirement Living TV (RLTV).
As a child growing up during the Depression, Henderson's own family was larger than the Brady clan: She was the last of ten children born to a sharecropper and his wife. Henderson's mother taught her to sing, and at age two she had a repertoire of 50 songs. At 8, Henderson was working in her father's fields, and by 12 she was singing at the local store for groceries. With financial assistance from a schoolmate's parents she attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. At age 18 she made her Broadway debut, and two years later she was the original Fanny on stage.
In 1969 Henderson took the role of Carol, the mother on The Brady Bunch. She wanted to make Carol a bit more realistic, begging the studio to let the character have a job, but her request was refused. The actor who played her stepson Greg, 'Barry Williams', had a crush on her (reportedly the flames were liberally fanned with marijuana) and they went on a "date". As a married Catholic, Henderson of course did not consider the event to be a romantic one. Following the end of The Brady Bunch and its many sequels and subsequent Brady series, Henderson worked as a cabaret singer and supplemented her income with commercials for Wesson Oil.
Henderson began to experience stage fright as her first marriage ended in the mid-1980's, and turned to hypnosis to conquer her fears. She soon fell in love with her therapist, John Kappas, married him, and studied hypnotherapy, even becoming a hypnotherapist herself. During the 50s, after experiencing pain following dancing, she was diagnosed as having deformed vertebrae, which was treated by exercise. She later suffered loss of hearing caused by otosclerosis, which was repaired with surgery. She also suffers from osteoporosis, and has said she endured a bout of crabs after a brief fling with New York City Mayor John Lindsay in the 1960s.
Henderson died on Thanksgiving Day (November 24, 2016), at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, surrounded by family and friends. She was 82 years old. She had been hospitalized the previous day, and her manager, Kayla Pressman, reported that she (died of heart failure). Pressman reported that Henderson had not been ill prior to her sudden hospitalization and that her death was a "shock". On November 21, 2016, just three days before her death, Henderson attended a live taping of Dancing with the Stars in support of her friend and former on-screen daughter 'Maureen McCormick'. She is buried at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Florence Henderson, in her memoir Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond (2010). See also Rich Shapiro, "Brady Bunch Mom Florence Henderson Admits Ex-Mayor John Lindsay Gave Her Crabs in One-Night-Stand", New York Daily News, June 26, 2011, the story based on pre-publication copies of Henderson's memoir.
Husband: Ira Bernstein (Broadway backstage figure, (m. Jan 9, 1956), (divorced him in 1985), four children)
Son: Joseph (b. 1950)
Daughter: Barbara (b. 1956)
Son: Robert (b. 1963)
Daughter: Elizabeth ("Lizzie", b. 1966, with Bernstein)
Slept with: New York Mayor
John Lindsay (one-night stand in the late 1960s, according to her)
Husband: John Kappas (hypnotist, (m. Aug 4, 1987), (his death~Sep 26, 2002) cancer)
- In the mid-1950s, she was diagnosed with a bone deformation of the inner ear, and she had to have surgery to prevent deafness.
- Could sing 50 songs by heart by the age of 2.
- Is portrayed by 'Rebeccah Bush' (qv) in _Growing Up Brady (2000) (TV)_ (qv).
- Prefers to apply her own makeup.
- In a 2006 TV Guide /Bravo poll, her Carol Brady character was named the TV mom that most shaped viewers perceptions of a housewife with 45% of the vote. She topped both June Cleaver and Shirley Partridge for the honor.
- Was the first woman to host _"The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962)_ (qv).
- Was a _"Today" (1952)_ (qv) girl from 1959-1960, and later went on to co-host the short lived spinoff series _"Later Today" (1999)_ (qv) from 1999-2000.
- Best known on TV for her starring role as Carol Brady on _"The Brady Bunch" (1969)_ (qv).