‘The Brady Bunch’: Florence Henderson Would ‘Purposefully Screw Up’ Scenes

by Megan Molseed

Who hasn’t watched an episode of the classic hit sitcom series Brady Bunch and wonder how in the world Carol Brady manages to keep it together with so much chaos going on around her?

Even Florence Henderson, the actress who played the beloved television mother on the iconic television series knew this. And, says one of her Brady Bunch costars, the actress always found time to joke about it.

“She would purposefully screw up a scene to get everyone laughing,” said Henderson’s co-star and one of her on-screen children, Susan Olsen.

“Florence was all about putting smiles on peoples’ faces!” the Cindy Brady actress adds.

In fact, there was one time when Henderson couldn’t help herself but dream of being whisked away from the business of the Brady Bunch house when the Brady’s were paid a visit by a sports legend.

“When Joe Namath was our guest star, we were filming the scene where he says goodbye to the Brady family. In one take, Florence threw her arms around him and shouted, ‘Joe please take me away! I’m so sick of these kids!’” Olsen remembered. “Joe didn’t miss a beat, he picked her up and carried her off-screen.”

‘Brady Bunch’ Star Made Sure All Felt Welcome On Set

While Florence Henderson enjoyed her deliberate bloopers on set when there was time, Olsen notes the actress was “a lovely lady” who was always as professional as it gets.

“Florence was the ultimate team player,” says the actress, who portrayed the youngest Brady daughter on the hit series.

“She not only got along well with cast members but everyone on the set — electricians, makeup, everyone was a respected team member,” the Brady Bunch star explains. “And one of her goals was to get everyone home to their families as soon as possible.”

Olsen remembers how Henderson often gave her fellow castmates advice. Noting that the longtime actress once told her to “know your face, know how to do your own makeup.”

“Florence still arrived in the mornings for touch-ups but her point was to never be dependent on the makeup person,” the star said.

“I think she may have learned this lesson herself on the day of her screen test for The Brady Bunch,” Olsen continued, remembering a moment from the very beginning of the Brady Bunch’s five-season run.

“She arrived clean-faced and they had a makeup artist from the set of Star Trek make her up,” the actress says of her television mother. “He made her look like some galactic siren, not what was suitable for Carol Brady.”

Some Good Advice Comes To Life

Susan Olsen also remembers a time when this advice became a lesson Olsen learned in real life while preparing for an appearance with Henderson many years later.

“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,” said the actress.

“It was outside and it was raining. The makeup people were stuck in traffic,” Olsen explains.”Florence came to me and said, ‘Aren’t you glad you’re camera-ready? You never know what’s going to happen.'”

Of course, Susan Olsen had long internalized her on-screen mother’s advice. And, she was all ready to go, even without the touch-ups.

“Florence and I were the only ones made up and ready to go,” she recalls. “We didn’t need to wait for the makeup people who were stuck in traffic.”