The youngest of 10 children, she grew up in poverty as the daughter of tobacco sharecropper during the Depression. Henderson credits her mother with teaching her how to sing, boasting that by age 2 she had learned 50 songs.
Her talent was undeniable, and she often performed as a child to earn extra money for her folks. Her love of musical theater blossomed in high school. After she graduated from St. Francis Academy in Owensboro, Ky. And so, at age 17, she headed to New York. It was enough to draw the attention of Richard Rodgers, who offered her the lead in the national touring company Florence Henderson Oklahoma!.
During the next two years, Henderson logged nearly performances. Henderson also started popping up regularly on television.
She also starred in a Lincoln Center production of South Pacific. Even after it was canceled, The Brady Bunch never really went away.
Florence Henderson, Perky Mom on ‘The Brady Bunch,’ Dies at 82
Though it received only modest ratings, the sitcom was so popular in syndication, programmers kept coming up with ways to bring back the family. In each one, Henderson was there to nurture the family as Carol Brady.
She spoofed it in everything from Police Squad! InParamount rebooted the Brady Bunch concept for a feature film in which Shelley Long played the Brady matriarch.
Henderson put in a cameo as her mom. Inat age 76, she appeared as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars.
Florence Henderson Cam Show
Henderson married Ira Bernstein, a theatrical producer, inand they had four children: Barbara an actress and producerBob a TV editorJoseph and Elizabeth. The couple divorced in She Florence Henderson John Kappas, a hypnotherapist and psychologist inand they remained together until his death in Related Stories.