Florence Henderson, who went from Broadway star to become one of the most popular moms in television history in The Brady Bunch, died Thanksgiving night at the age of 82. Her unexpected death was attributed to heart failure.
Before she became known as “America’s Mom” on The Brady Bunch, Florence Henderson was an established Broadway star and a frequent presence on television. She was one of the Today show’s “Today girls,” reading the news and weather and occasionally singing, she performed on The Ed Sullivan Show multiple times, and was seen regularly on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show. She would eventually go on to be the first woman to host The Tonight Show for the vacationing Johnny Carson.
But it was her starring turn as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch that made her one of the most popular actresses on television. Even after it was canceled, The Brady Bunch never really went away. The sitcom was so popular in syndication, programmers kept coming up with ways to bring back the family with made-for-tv movies, various spin offs, and feature films. Even 40 years later, parts of the show are still staples of pop culture.
Henderson was still actively working before her death. She competed on Dancing With the Stars in 2010. Earlier this year she appeared in the parody film Fifty Shades of Black, and recently wrapped the upcoming movie Grandmothers Murder Club with Pam Grier.
Henderson is survived by her children; Barbara, Joseph, Robert and Lizzie, their respective spouses, and five grandchildren.