‘The Brady Bunch’: When and How Did Florence Henderson Die?

by Taylor Cunningham

Next month marks five years since we lost the beloved Hollywood actress Florence Henderson. Henderson, who was most known for playing Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, died in 2016 at the age of 82.

Florence Henderson died on November 24th, which was Thanksgiving, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. According to Henderson’s publicist, David Brokaw, her passing came one day after she was admitted to the hospital for heart failure. And on that day, she was surrounded by friends and family.

The Indiana native was most known for playing one of the most well-loved mothers in sitcom history. And that role came with some luck after creator Sherwood Schwartz hired another actress. Joyce Bulifant was the original Carol Brady. But Sherwood wasn’t happy with his choice. So he started looking for someone else.

Henderson was just finishing with a contract on The Dean Martin Show at the time. And when Schwartz learned she was available, he immediately called to see if she’d audition for his series. But at first, Henderson wasn’t interested in the part.

“I said, ‘I don’t want to do a series,” Henderson recalled during a 1999 interview. “I live in New York. ” 

But Henderson’s agent thought The Brady Bunch was a great opportunity. So she managed to get the actress on a plane for a screen test. One audition later, Florence Henderson had the job. And the former Broadway star was perfect for the role.

“There were certain things I brought to the role … my experience as a young parent, the fact that I understood kids, that I felt close to them. I was really the only one on the set who was married, who had children,” Henderson added. “In a way, I sort of became the stability of the show. I think Sherwood saw that, that I could be funny, but I could also bring the empathy or what was necessary for a show like that.”

‘The Brady Bunch’ star Florence Henderson Was ‘Heartbroken’ Over Ann B. Davis’ Death

When The Brady Bunch said farewell in 1974, the castmates had grown close. And their five-year on-set friendships turned into lasting relationships. So when Ann B. Davis, who played the Brady’s hilarious maid, passed in 2014, they all took it hard.

But Florence Henderson was devastated when her friend died. The two had grown particularly close throughout the years. And their on-screen chemistry was a testament to their real-life bond.

“I do keep in touch with my Brady family,” Henderson told Fox News. “I was heartbroken over the loss of Ann B. Davis — Alice. She was such a great friend and a great talent. But I do keep in touch with them. And they all turned out to be really wonderful adults.”