‘The Brady Bunch’: Florence Henderson Once Shared Her Thoughts on Child Actors

by Anna Dunn

Florence Henderson, a beloved actress who played Carol Brady, once gave her thoughts on child actors years ago in a Television Academy interview. Henderson got to watch as the actors and actresses she worked with grew up in the spotlight. Child stardom has proven itself detrimental to actors for decades, and Henderson echoed that concern.

Florence Hendersons Worried about Child Stars

“I think it’s very difficult for a child actor. I think unless they have incredibly intelligent parents and do have talent and a love for what they’re doing. A lot of these kids get pushed into it. In the best of circumstances, I think it’s very difficult for a child,” she said.

“It’s just difficult,” she continued, “You know, they’re around adults. They have to go to school. They have all these restrictions. I don’t know if the attention they get in the long run… it seems like it does more harm than good.”

And even in the context of The Brady Bunch actors, she was correct. Many of the children on the show would wind up facing a multitude of uphill battles. For instance, Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia, battled a cocaine addiction that started shortly after the show ended.

The ‘Child Star’ Problem

The issue Florence Henderson brought up with child stars is still one that actors raise concerns about. It appears that even though Hollywood has changed significantly since The Brady Bunch, the uphill battles child stars face continue. The problem has been passed from generation to generation.

Recently, a former Disney star Alyson Stoner spoke out about the sometimes horrific experiences she had on set. While Stoner’s case is particularly brutal, even those who have a relatively positive experience, struggle.

Former child actress Tia Mowry told USA Today that being a child star is similar to what Florence Henderson described. “You’re a child who is working. You have a job. That job is a hard job. Everybody thinks being a child star is glamorous. But when you’re on a show, you are often carrying a whole show, and you know that. You have to pull it off. You have to know your lines. People are making money off you.”

It’s a lot of pressure at a young age, and while not all child stars break down or even look at their experiences negatively, the pattern that’s developed over the recent decades is hard for many to ignore.

Florence Henderson spoke of child stardom with empathy, and it sounds like the cast of The Brady Bunch was lucky to have her on set. Her role as Carol Brady is one of the most iconic in television history, and her eloquence and outspoken nature made her very loved in Hollywood. When it comes to child stars facing difficulty, Florence Henderson saw the problem from a unique perspective. What the solution is, however, remains unknown.