Florence Henderson, the actress beloved by millions for her role as the iconic and unflappable TV matriarch Carol Brady in “The Brady Bunch,” died Thursday night at 82.
She had been hospitalized the day before after suffering heart failure, and died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with family and friends at her bedside, her manager, Kayla Pressman, said in a statement.
Henderson, an Indiana native and real-life mother of four, was already a respected star of stage and screen when the TV show first aired in 1969. She appeared in Broadway musicals throughout the ’50s and early ’ 60s and became the first woman to guest-host “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” in 1962.
But it’s for “The Brady Bunch” that she’s best known.
“It’s seen through the eyes of a child,” Henderson explained of the enduring appeal of the show last year.
“It’s like a beautiful children’s book. It’s classic,” she said in the interview, conducted last November.
“I feel kind of badly that there aren’t more shows like that,” she added, “because our kids lose their innocence so quickly now.”
But as much as she could get wistful about childhood innocence, Henderson had a mischievous side.
“I killed him!” she liked to joke when asked by fans about whatever happened to Carol Brady’s first husband.
In a New York Post interview last February, she said she turned 82 on Valentines Day — but insisted you’re never too old for sex.
“I may have more than one friend with benefits,” she told reporter Kristen Fleming at the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection show.
“Absolutely, it’s very healthy for the heart. I think no matter how old you are — and I am pretty up there in terms of numbers — I think you should do whatever makes you happy,” she said.
“If you want to wear long hair or wear that dress, as long as you’re not hurting yourself or anybody else, I say do it. If you want to go out and have a romantic, sexy affair, do it.”
Then she seductively walked the runway in a Pamella Roland gown.
“The Brady Bunch” aired from 1969 to 1974 and is now syndicated in 122 countries around the world.
Then, there are the TV spinoffs, in which Henderson gamely participated, including “The Brady Bunch Hour” in 1977, “The Brady Brides” in 1981 and “The Bradys” in 1990.
SOURCE: Page Six – Laura Italiano