Florence Henderson, who played TV mom to generations of viewers as Carol Brady on "The Brady Bunch," died Thursday of heart failure. She was 82.
Her passing was unexpected, as her manager Kayla Pressman told CNN. In fact, she attended a taping earlier this week of "Dancing with the Stars" to support Maureen McCormick, who portrayed eldest TV daughter Marcia Brady.
Born in 1934 in Dale, Indiana, Henderson began her career on stage, starring in touring productions of "Oklahoma!" and "South Pacific," which in turn lead to a successful career in such Broadway musicals as "Wish You Were Here" and "Fanny." In the 1950s and '60s, she appeared on music-oriented TV series like "Oldsmobile Music Theater" and "The Dean Martin Show," and on such game shows as "Password" and "The Match Game." From 1959 to 1960, Henderson was the "Today Girl," doing fashion and light news segments for "Today," and in 1962 she became the first woman to guest host "The Tonight Show," following Jack Paar's departure.
However, she'll be forever remembered as Carol Brady, the upbeat mother of the blended family on "The Brady Bunch," which aired from 1969 to 1974 on ABC. "I created the kind of mother that I wished I'd had, and I think everyone longs for," Henderson said.
She reprised her role for the short-lived "Brady Bunch Hour" variety show, and for a handful of other spinoffs and TV movies that extended into the 1990s. Henderson remained active in more recent years, returning to "Today" to co-host the "Later Today" hour, co-hosting her own shows "The Florence Henderson Show" and "Who's Cooking With Florence Henderson," and appearing as a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars."
She's survived by two daughters, two sons and five grandchildren.
You are in my heart forever Florence? pic.twitter.com/PABCuPubA2
— Maureen McCormick (@MoMcCormick7) November 25, 2016