Remembering Florence Henderson: Beloved “Brady Bunch” Actress Passes Away at 82

by Monica Fiore (Staff Writer and Reporter) 

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Florence Henderson (Courtesy of Flickr)

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa.- “Here’s the story of a lovely lady” could not be a more perfect first line for the intro to the late 1960s, early 1970s show, The Brady Bunch, which featured a close-up shot of Florence Henderson playing mother Carol Brady, who has three girls, Marcia, Jan, and Cindy, because even though Henderson played a lovely lady on television, in reality, she truly was one.

Henderson, who was most known for her Brady Bunch role, passed away November 24 at the age of 82, due to heart failure.

The Brady Bunch first aired in 1969 and depicted two widowed parents, each raising three children, who were going to become a family of eight, due to marriage. Alongside mother Carol Brady and her three girls, Marcia (played by Maureen McCormick), Jan (Eve Plumb), and Cindy (Susan Olsen), the opening theme song showcased father Mike Brady (played by the late Robert Reed) and his three boys, Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher Knight), and Bobby (Mike Lookinland), as well as the housekeeper, (the late Ann B. Davis).

Those who played her children in the show, who were like children to her in reality, paid tribute to her the following days after her passing.

“Florence was one of the most gracious people I have ever known,” tweeted Barry Williams. “Proud to call her Mom and lifelong friend.”

Susan Olsen released a statement on Facebook on November 27. “I realize today that many of you are grieving our favorite TV Mom. My experience contains the joy of having known her and loving her and having her love me as a co-worker and a mother figure. But a lot of you are grieving the mother you always longed for. You have MY condolences. I’m sorry you didn’t get to know Florence – she was wonderful. But you will always have Carol Brady, she’s wonderful too!”

“I grieve for the passing of my dear friend, Florence,” Christopher Knight tweeted November 25. “Privileged to have known her and the kindness of her heart. She will be missed. RIP.”

“Florence was a wonderful role model for me and all us ‘kids'”, shared Eve Plumb. “She was also loving, warm, generous, and could tell a funny, dirty joke. I’m fortunate to have been able to know and to work with her. She will be missed by her children, her grandchildren, and us ‘kids.'”

In an interview by the New York Daily News, Mike Lookinland, known for his character, Bobby Brady, stated, “She was the kind of person that is just great to be around. Just to be in the same room with her was a pleasure. You can’t say that about most people. She was just 100% fun and professional.”

The last of the Brady kids to share their grief, who perhaps may be grieving the most out of all of them, is daughter Marcia, Maureen McCormick. McCormick was very close with Henderson, as Henderson was not only recently in the audience supporting McCormick for her performances on Dancing With the Stars, but also a part of McCormick’s dances on the show.

“Florence Henderson was a dear friend for so very many years & in my heart forever,” McCormick tweeted. “Love & hugs to her family. I will miss you dearly.”

Henderson also starred on season 11 of Dancing With the Stars in 2010, coming in eighth place with partner, Corky Ballas.

The Brady Bunch show may have ended in 1974, but spin-offs of the show were continuously made, such as The Brady Bunch Hour, The Brady Brides, The Bradys, and television movies, A Very Brady Christmas and The Brady Girls Get Married.

Other roles of Henderson’s outside of her Brady Bunch character include Song of Norway, Fifty Shades of Black, and numerous Broadway musicals, such as Annie Get Your Gun, Oklahoma!, and The Sound of Music.

Henderson was buried at Forest-Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. She is survived by her ex-husband, Ira Bernstein, their four children, Barbara, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Robert, and their five grandchildren.

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