Ultimate TV mom Florence Henderson, famous for her role as Carol Brady on the ’70s sitcom “The Brady Bunch,” passed away on Thursday night surrounded by friends and family. Here are five facts that you may not know about her.
1. Henderson’s role on “The Brady Bunch” was actually pretty groundbreaking for the time. The sitcom, which premiered in 1969, was among the first television shows to depict a blended family. This was famously worked into the sitcom’s theme song, which highlighted the extent to which the family was blended. Henderson’s character, Carol, was a single mother raising three daugthers and her husband, Mike Brady, was a single father raising three boys.
2. However, Henderson’s career extended far beyond her “Brady Bunch” role. She began her career in theater — having appeared on Broadway and also starring in the national tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein‘s Oklahoma!.
3. When Henderson moved over to TV, she became The Tonight Show‘s first female guest host prior to 1969 when she landed her role as Carol Brady, which would ultimately be her claim to fame. From 2007-2009, she hosted The Florence Henderson Show on RLTV as well.
4. In the same year that Henderson became the first female guest to host The Tonight Show, she also became “The Today Girl,” a young woman on The Today Show who covered the weather and some very light news.
5. Henderson played Carol Brady for five years. As a working mother herself, she lobbied for Carol to have a job, but producers were not interested in Carol taking on that role.