Even when the cameras weren’t rolling on the set of The Brady Bunch, Florence Henderson, the actress behind the genial Carol Brady, was still a mother to her six TV children. Much like her co-star, Robert Reed, who played her counterpart, Mike Brady, Henderson cared deeply for the young actors. Together, the two sitcom parents looked after the young stars as if they were their own. Not only did this make for more genuine relationships on set, but it also provided friendships and loving bonds between the cast members that would last a lifetime. Henderson passed away in November 2016, but her co-stars still remember her fondly.
Susan Olsen, the actress behind the youngest Brady, Cindy, grew especially close with her TV mom. In a recent interview, The Brady Bunch actress shared some of the life lessons that Henderson taught her. According to the former child star, one of Henderson’s lessons included teaching her to do her own makeup. After a mix-up with a makeup artist, the actress learned to rely on her own abilities to paint her face.
This valuable lesson allowed Olsen to be camera-ready even when the rest of the crew was behind schedule.
“In the early ‘90s when we were making the smash flop ‘The Bradys,’ we were all in Florida doing a talk show to promote it,” Olsen shared. “It was outside and it was raining. The makeup people were stuck in traffic. Florence came to me and said, ‘Aren’t you glad you’re camera-ready? You never know what’s going to happen.’ Florence and I were the only ones made up and ready to go. We didn’t need to wait for the makeup people who were stuck in traffic.”
‘The Brady Bunch’ Actress Explains Why Fans Loved Carol Brady
Part of the reason The Brady Bunch became as popular as it did in the 70s was because of how much fans admired Carol Brady. With her charming, warm demeanor, she represented the open arms that every young kid wanted to come home to. Along with Henderson’s brilliance on set, Olsen believed that the audience favored the TV mother for a deeper reason, too.
“I’ve always said that people are more psychic than given credit for,” she said. “Our audience saw that Florence’s love was genuine. All of the love between the cast members was genuine and people were drawn to that.”
Fans at home weren’t the only ones that doted over Henderson, either. Olsen recalled that the crew working behind the scenes of The Brady Bunch always enjoyed working with Henderson because of her consideration and selflessness. The youngest Brady member even deemed her TV mom the “ultimate team player.”
“She not only got along well with cast members but everyone on the set — electricians, makeup, everyone was a respected team member and one of her goals was to get everyone home to their families as soon as possible,” Olsen remembered.