Actress Florence Henderson, the well-known TV personality and maternal influence of one of America's most beloved sitcoms, The Brady Bunch, sadly passed away on Thursday following a short Hospital stay. She was 82-years-old.
#FlorenceHenderson won the hearts of millions in her role as mother Carol Brady in the iconic sitcom, starring in five seasons between 1969 and 1974. Focusing on a large family of six, the show's appeal came from its authenticity and harmony, attributes that have made it one of the most highly regarded old-style family sitcoms.
In a 1999 interview reported by The Associated Press, Henderson spoke of her fondness for the role. She said:
"It represents what people always wanted: a loving family. It's such a gentle, innocent, sweet show, and I guess it proved there's always an audience for that."
Part Of American Culture
The plot followed Henderson's character of Carol, "a lovely lady" who had three daughters, following her marriage to Mike (Robert Reed) — a widow with three sons. After the unforgettable opening credits, #TheBradyBunch depicted domestic life from the perspective of the younger members of the family, appealing to both adults and children.
As well as the show's primetime run, Henderson later starred in two TV movies (1981’s The Brady Girls Get Married and 1988’s A Very Brady Christmas) and three spinoff shows. Although Carol Brady was her most popular performance, Henderson also appeared on shows such as Murder, She Wrote and The Love Boat.
Henderson got her break on TV following a successful stint on Broadway. After enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts aged 17, she appeared in hit shows such as Oklahoma!, Fanny and The Sound of Music.
A Popular TV Personality
Away from acting, Henderson was also a TV personality, initially featuring as a "Today Girl" reporter on the Today Show between 1959 and 1960. In 1962, she became the first woman to guest-host The Tonight Show, and from 2008 presented her own talk show, The Florence Henderson Show.
Her persona, shared with the public across a decorated, six decade career, also saw her try her hand at reality TV, notably appearing on the sixth season The Surreal Life in 2006, and appearing as a contestant on the 2010 edition of Dancing with the Stars.
Her publicist, David Brokaw, confirmed to The Associated Press that the actress died from heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, only a day after her admission.
The death of Henderson marks another tragic inclusion to the unfortunate list of celebrity deaths in 2016, including the likes of David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Muhammad Ali.
(Source: Associated Press)