|Birth Date||February 14, 1934|
|Died||November 24, 2016 (aged 82)|
|Known For||Brady Bunch Actress|
|Highest Score||21 (Tango)|
|Lowest Score||17 (Rumba)|
Henderson, the youngest of ten children, was born on Valentine's Day, 1934, in Dale, Indiana, a small town in the southwestern part of the state. She was a daughter of Elizabeth (née Elder), a homemaker, and Joseph Henderson, a tobacco sharecropper. During the Great Depression, she was taught to sing at the age of two by her mother, who had a repertoire of fifty songs. By the time she was eight, her family called her "Florency", and by age 12, she was singing at local grocery stores.
Henderson graduated from St. Francis Academy in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1951; and shortly thereafter, went to New York City, enrolling in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She was an Alumna Initiate of the Alpha Chi chapter of Delta Zeta sorority.
Henderson started her career on the stage performing in musicals, such as the touring production of Oklahoma! and South Pacific at Lincoln Center.
She debuted on Broadway in the musical Wish You Were Here in 1952, and later starred on Broadway in the long-running 1954 musical, Fanny (888 performances) in which she originated the title role. Henderson appeared with Gordon MacRae in the Oklahoma! segment of the 90-minute television special, General Foods 25th Anniversary Show: A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein (1954). She later appeared in "The Abbe and the Nymph," an episode of the 1950s TV series I Spy (not to be confused with the 1960s series of the same name). She also portrayed Meg March in a CBS-TV musical adaptation of Little Women, which aired October 16, 1958.
Henderson appeared in two episodes of The United States Steel Hour. She portrayed Mary Jane in an episodic adaptation of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which aired on November 20, 1957. She also appeared in "A Family Alliance," an episodic adaptation of a short story from A Harvest of Stories (1956) by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, which aired on June 4, 1958.
Henderson, along with Bill Hayes, appeared in the Oldsmobile commercials from 1958 through 1961 on The Patti Page Show for which Oldsmobile was the sponsor. She and Hayes also made a musical performance in the January 13, 1960, broadcast of Tonight Starring Jack Paar. Henderson also appeared on Broadway in The Girl Who Came to Supper (1963). In 1962, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre, and the same year became the first woman to guest host The Tonight Show in the period after Jack Paar left as the show's host, and before Johnny Carson began his 30 years as the show's longest serving host in October 1962. She also joined the ranks of what was then called "The Today Girl" on NBC's long running morning show, doing weather and light news, a position also once held by Barbara Walters.
Henderson made her later musical performances in Jack Paar's subsequent talk show in 1963, including the January 25 and February 22 broadcasts. She also made a musical performance in the May 19, 1963, broadcast of The Voice of Firestone alongside a baritone Mario Sereni. She also released her albums under RCA Victor as part of her music career.
Her most widely recognized role was as Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch which aired on ABC from 1969 until 1974. Henderson's best friend, Shirley Jones, had turned down the role, but the following year she accepted the similar role of a mother with five children, named Shirley Partridge in The Partridge Family. (The Partridge Family aired from 1970–1974).
Primarily owing to her role on The Brady Bunch, Henderson was ranked by TV Land and Entertainment Weekly as No. 54 on their list of the 100 Greatest TV Icons.
Henderson was a frequent panelist on the original version of the television game show Hollywood Squares and made occasional appearances on The $25,000 Pyramid.
Henderson was the spokeswoman for Wesson cooking oil from 1976 to 1996. During that time, she hosted a cooking show on TNN called Country Kitchen, and also did ads for Prange's, a former Wisconsin department store chain. Henderson co-hosted the talk show Later Today on NBC (1999–2000) with co-hosts Jodi Applegate and Asha Blake. In the 2000s, she was the spokeswoman for Polident denture cleaner. In 2003, Henderson seemed to poke fun at her wholesome image by appearing in a Pepsi Twist television commercial with Ozzy Osbourne.
Henderson also appeared with her TV children, as she did with Christopher Knight on the reality television series My Fair Brady. She was also in the sixth season of VH1's The Surreal Life.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, the song "God Bless America" was performed by Henderson at the Indianapolis 500 accompanied by the Purdue All-American Marching Band, at the request of the Hulman-George family, the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and friends of Henderson's.
She appeared in the "Weird Al" Yankovic video for "Amish Paradise". In 2002, she made a memorable guest appearance on improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, participating in on-screen kisses with Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie.
From 2007 to 2009, Henderson co-hosted the daily talk show Living Live with former Designing Women star Meshach Taylor on RLTV. The show was reworked to focus on her and was renamed The Florence Henderson Show. The show was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010. In May 2010, Henderson did a series of promotional radio ads for Fox. On the July 12, 2010, edition of WWE Raw, Henderson appeared as the night's guest host.
Henderson was one of twelve celebrities competing on the eleventh season of Dancing with the Stars which premiered on September 20, 2010. Her professional partner was Corky Ballas, father of two-time champion, Mark Ballas. On October 19, 2010, she was the fifth contestant eliminated.
Henderson made a special appearance on May 11, 2012, in a special Mother's Day episode on The Price Is Right with Drew Carey, displaying prizes as well as one of the showcases.
In February 2013, Henderson began hosting her own cooking show, Who's Cooking with Florence Henderson, on RLTV.
Henderson was married to Ira Bernstein in 1956 and divorced him in 1985. They had four children together. She married her second husband, Dr. John George Kappas, in 1987. He died in 2002. Henderson had five grandchildren.
In the 2000s, she became a public benefactor to the Sisters of St Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana, some of the nuns having been her teachers during her early education. She appeared in a number of their promotional videos and helped in fundraising efforts. She won money for the Sisters on the game show Weakest Link and on a classic-television-themed episode of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in 2001, winning $32,000 in their name. When Henderson appeared on The Surreal Life, she refused to dress in a nun's costume for a comedy skit.
Henderson died on 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.
Dancing with the Stars 11Edit
|Week #||Dance/Song||Judges' score||Result|
|1||Cha-Cha-Cha/Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me||6||6||6||Safe|
|2||Quickstep/Suddenly I See||7||6||6||Safe|
|5||Tango/The Brady Bunch Theme||7||7||7||Eliminated|
- Her Brady Bunch co-star, Maureen McCormick, competed on season 23, finishing in eight place.
- In week 2 of season 23, Maureen's season, she appeared in a Brady Bunch themed quickstep on TV Night.
- Her last public appearance was at the finale three days before her death.
- She is the first Dancing with the Stars competitor to die.
- They have inserted a star on the dance floor in her memory.