Florence Henderson Dies at 82

Best remembered for her role as The Brady Bunch matriarch, Carol Brady, Florence Henderson was a veteran actress whose career spanned over sixty years. Not only was she known as an actress, but she was also famed as a TV host and a one-time contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Henderson apparently lived her life to the fullest before leaving the world at the age of 82, as a result of heart failure.

Florence Henderson’s Background Details

Florence Henderson was born in Dale, Indiana, to farmer Joseph Henderson and his wife Elizabeth. The late star was the youngest of 10 children. She was raised by a homemaker mom, a tobacco sharecropper dad, and enrolled in St. Francis Academy in Owensboro, Kentucky. She completed her studies there in 1951 and proceeded to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

The actress who was of Irish Catholic ancestry got married in January 1956 to Ira Bernstein, whom she shared four children with — Barbara, Joseph, Bob and Elizabeth — but later divorced in 1985. In 1987, Henderson married Dr. John George Kappas, and the two remained together until his death in September 2002.

The Actress’ Time In The Limelight

Florence Henderson actually began making waves in the entertainment industry at the age of 12, when she started performing as a singer at local grocery stores. A few years later, she began her career in stage productions and went on to perform musicals on Broadway stage. Musical works on Broadway under her belt include Wish You Were Here (1952), Fanny (1954) and The Girl Who Came to Supper (1963). She also appeared in guest roles on multiples TV series and films and is known to be the first woman to host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1962.

She took up a leading role on the 1969 sitcom The Brady Bunch, and that pushed her to international fame. Florence Henderson also appeared in all five seasons of the family comedy series, and later appeared as Carol Brady in spinoffs The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, The Brady Girls Get Married, The Brady Brides, The Bradys and The Brady Bunch Movie.

In 2002, she made a remarkable guest appearance on improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? taking part in on-screen kisses with Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie. Then from 2007 to 2009, Henderson hosted her own television series, The Florence Henderson Show on RLTV (Retirement Living TV), which skyrocketed her height of fame, with the show gaining an Emmy Award nomination in the year 2010.

Florence Henderson further had a deal with Fox which saw her do some promotional radio ads for the News Network in May 2010. She also appeared in special Mother’s Day episode on The Price Is Right with Drew Carey. Then on the July 12th, 2010, edition of WWE Raw, Henderson featured as the night’s guest host. By February 2013, she started televising her own cooking show, Who’s Cooking with Florence Henderson, on RLTV. She has been doing great hosting duties on RLTV until her death.

Her other notable roles include The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, season 11 of Dancing with the Stars, For Heaven’s Sake, Fifty Shades of Black and Bad Grandmas. She earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996.

Details of Florence Henderson’s Cause of Death

Florence Henderson was full of life when she attended Dancing with the Stars in November 2016, three days prior to her death. Tragically, she passed away at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles on November 24th, 2016, after being hospitalised for a day. According to Henderson’s manager, Kayla Pressman, the legendary actress died of heart failure.

Her demise was a big shock to many people because she wasn’t feeling ill a few days to her death. Her body was cremated and buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery situated in Los Angeles. She is survived by her four children, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Understanding The Brady Bunch Show

The American sitcom began airing on ABC Network on September 26th, 1969. The show which revolves around a large blended family of eight was created by Sherwood Schwartz. On the TV show, Florence was cast as Carol Brady, the matriarch of a blended family with six children – Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick), Jan Brady (Eve Plump), Cindy Brady (Susan Olsen), Greg Brady (Barry Williams), Peter Brady (Christopher Knight) and Bobby Brady (Mike Lookinland).

Florence Henderson
The Brady Bunch Cast (Image Source)

The TV series follows the story of a widowed man, Mike Brady (Robert Reed) who had three children from his previous marriage and eventually entered a second marriage with a widow (Florence Henderson), who also had three kids from a previous marriage. Although the series was cancelled on March 8th 1974 after five seasons, it entered into syndication in September 1975 and then became popular among children and teenage viewers.

Following the sitcom’s success in syndication, it was adapted into many spin-off series and TV reunion films. They include The Brady Bunch Hour (1976-1977), The Brady Girls Get Married (1981), The Brady Brides (1981), A Very Brady Christmas (1988), The Bradys (1990), Brady mania: A Very Brady Special (1993), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), A Very Brady Sequel (1996), The Brady Bunch in the White House (2002), and A Very Brady Renovation (2019).

What Are The Cast Members Doing Now?

Florence Henderson
The Brady Bunch Kids reunion in A Very Brady Renovation series (Image Source)

Prior to the death of Emmy Award nominee, Florence Henderson in 2016, Robert Reed who portrayed the character of Mike Brady – the patriarch of the blended family was the first The Brady Bunch cast member to die. The actor who was born on October 19th 1932, passed away on May 12th 1992 at Huntington Memorial Hospital located in Pasadena, California, at the age of 59.

Although The Brady Bunch star was said to have succumbed to colon cancer, it was later revealed after his death that he was HIV positive; a condition which also contributed to his demise. His body was laid to rest at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois.

Asides Robert Reed and Florence Henderson, other cast members of the Brady family are still alive and well as of the time of this writing. While the likes of Maureen McCormick, Eve Plumb, Susan Olsen, Barry Williams and Christopher Knight are still active in the movie industry to date, Mike Lookinland has retired from acting. Even though he was featured in the 2019 reunion spin-off series titled A Very Brady Renovation alongside other The Brady Bunch cast who are still alive, Lookinland is currently working as a businessman who produces decorative concrete in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Christopher Knight, on the other hand, is also a businessman but he still makes appearances mainly on the small screen once in a while. His last TV role prior to appearing in A Very Brady Renovation was as Grandpa Clarke, a role he played in the 2018 TV film, The Last Sharkanado: It’s About Time.

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that needs updating, Contact us!