Actress Florence Henderson shares the details about a final conversation she had with onscreen husband, Robert Reed.
It’s well known that The Brady Bunch father created tension on set. He was frequently unhappy with the content of the film. He wanted more of an acting challenge than what he was given as the onscreen dad. However, when it came to caring for the young actors who played his children on the show, Reed set his upsets aside. Reed’s onscreen wife, Florence Henderson, opened up about her relationship with Reed during an interview.
“As complex and sometimes difficult as Bob could be, it was balanced by his genuine love for the kids,” said Henderson “It was fairly obvious to me that he treated the kids as though they were his real family,” she said.
Reed did have one daughter of his own. However, he rarely got to see her because of a strained relationship with his ex-wife. As a result, his onscreen children became like family to him, even after the show ended in 1974.
“We got to meet her once when she did a small guest role in one of the episodes,” said Henderson about Reed’s daughter. “I know that he found real solace being around his fictional family. It was something he carried close to his heart to the very end of his life,” she said.
Reed felt so close to the actors who played his children that he made a special request when he spoke with Henderson before his passing.
Robert Reed Asks Florence Henderson To Call All His Onscreen Kids
In 1991 Reed became ill. As his condition worsened, he reached out to Henderson and asked if she would take his spot at a talk in Little Rock, Arkansas. After the conference, Reed contacted Henderson again and asked her to call their onscreen kids.
“Everything seemed fine, but he called me one day out of the blue,” said Henderson.
Henderson says that she still gets cold chills and cries when she thinks about what Reed said next.
“‘I’m not doing well,’ he said. ‘It’s not going to be very long. Can you call the kids for me? Would you tell them?'” remembers Henderson. “I get cold chills and cry every time I think of this conversation. ‘Of course, Bob. I’ll do it,'” she said.
Henderson called each actor and updated them on Reed’s health status. Henderson said the actors were all devasted to hear the news. Reed requested a private funeral. After his passing, the onscreen family reunited in his honor.
“He died very shortly after this last phone call. Along with his real daughter, Karen, the kids and I were just about the only ones there at his private funeral,” said Henderson.