“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Story of a Mom Named Brady…

Posted on November 25, 2016 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…carol_brady

   Florence Henderson went from Broadway star to becoming one of America’s most beloved television moms in The Brady Bunch. Her most widely recognized part was as Carol Brady. The sitcom aired on ABC from 1969 until 1974. Henderson’s best friend, Shirley Jones, had turned down the role to spend more time with her family. Primarily owing to her performance on The Brady Bunch, Henderson was ranked by TVLand and Entertainment Weekly as #54 on their list of the 100 Greatest TV Icons.

   Initially, Henderson represented an idyllic mother to a tumultuous nation that was protesting an unpopular war, and a presidential abuse of power. After ending its initial run, the show kept resonating with audiences, and it returned to the small screen in various forms, including The Brady Bunch Hour in 1977, The Brady Brides in 1981, and The Bradys in 1990. It remains a popular rerun.            FLORENCE HENDERSON

   Prior to the iconic program, Henderson began her career as a 19-year-old drama student in New York when she landed a one-line role in the play Wish You Were Here. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were so impressed, they made her the female lead in a 1952 road tour of Oklahoma! When the show returned to Broadway for a revival in 1954, she continued in the role and won rave reviews. She went on to play Maria in a road production of The Sound of Music; was Nellie Forbush in a revival of South Pacific; and was back on Broadway with Jose Ferrer in The Girl Who Came to Supper in 1963. Her career nearly ended in 1965, when she suddenly lost her hearing while appearing in The King and I in Los Angeles. Corrective surgery resolved the issue.

   As her television career blossomed, Henderson made frequent guest appearances, including Password, I SpyThe Dean Martin Show, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, L.A. Law, Alice, Fantasy IslandMurder She Wrote, Roseanne, Ally McBealThe King of Queens, and 30 Rock. She was the first woman to host The Tonight Show for the vacationing Johnny Carson. For eight years, Florence also commuted to Nashville to conduct a cooking and talk series, Country Kitchen, on The Nashville Network. She was the host of her own television series, The Florence Henderson Show on Retirement Living TV. In February 2013, she began hosting her own cooking show, Who’s Cooking with Florence Henderson, on RLTV. She was the spokesperson for Wesson Cooking Oil from 1976 to 1996.

   She made her movie debut in 1970 in Song of Norway. Henderson also had a cameo as Carol Brady’s mom in The Brady Bunch Movie. Three days before her passing, Florence appeared on Dancing With The Stars, giving moral support to Maureen McCormick, who played the popular Marcia Brady.

   She was partly old-school small-screen mom, as perfectly groomed and poised as Harriet Nelson in The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet or Barbara Billingsley’s June Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver. But Henderson’s own sass, warmth and strength made Carol Brady the right surrogate mom for the changing 1970s. For viewers who came of age during The Brady Bunch years, it was Florence Henderson who more than earned the honor.

A couple of years back, I met Ms. Henderson, and found her to be quite warm and engaging. She was unassuming and down-to-earth.

   Florence Henderson was 82.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

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