In a 2020 interview, Susan Olsen, who played the blonde pig-tailed Cindy on The Brady Bunch, got candid about working alongside Florence Henderson. And she had a particularly funny memory about Henderson’s first screen test.
Susan Olsen remembered the late Florence Henderson as a warm, free-spirited, and independent woman. She was kind to every member of The Brady Bunch crew and made it a point to make their jobs easy. Henderson also wasn’t afraid to work in a man’s world. She even ended up being the first woman to ever host The Late Show. And she was also self-sufficient. The starlet even did her own makeup for the show.
“[She would tell me to] know your face, know how to do your own makeup,” Olsen told Fox News. “Florence still arrived in the mornings for touch-ups but her point was to never be dependent on the makeup person.”
And Olsen thinks that Henderson decided to take matters into her own hands because of a bad experience on set. A makeup artist made Florence Henderson look ridiculous when she went in for a screen test. And she was never going to let that happen again.
“I think she may have learned this lesson herself on the day of her screen test for The Brady Bunch,” speculated Olsen. “She arrived clean-faced and they had a makeup artist from the set of Star Trek make her up. He made her look like some galactic siren, not what was suitable for Carol Brady.”
‘The Brady Bunch’ Star Susan Olsen Had to Get Hair Dyed to Match Sisters
The Brady Bunch was a story about a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls. And the casting crew thought those girls needed to look like their blonde-headed mother. So one of the girls had to routinely dye her hair to be platinum blonde like her sisters.
When producers were holding auditions for The Brady Bunch, they picked their 12 favorite child stars. Then when Florence Henderson and Robert Reed officially joined the cast as the new doting parents, six of those kids were cut. The creators wanted the kids to have the same hair color as their on-screen parent. So all the girls were blonde and all the boys were brunette.
“I wanted immediate viewer recognition with the kids and parents in terms of hair color. Blonde mother, blonde kids. Dark-haired mother, dark-haired kids. Blonde father, blonde kids, etc. No back story is needed,” series creator Sherwood Schwartz wrote in Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch from the Father/Son Team Who Really Know.
Susan Olsen was already blonde when she took the part as the youngest sister on the show. But Swartz didn’t think she was blonde enough. So her hair was routinely dyed to look as bright as Jan and Marsha. They kept dying her hair whenever her roots would show and that proved to be too much. By season two, little Cindy’s hair started falling out. So they had to let her hair return to its darker state.