‘The Brady Bunch’: Florence Henderson Had Awkward Interaction with William Shatner During Makeup Session

by Joe Rutland

What a collision of star power when Carol Brady of “The Brady Bunch” crossed paths with Capt. James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.

Well, it did happen. Yet the way it did, and the reasoning behind it, makes for one of those great television entertainment stories.

First off, Florence Henderson was not Carol Brady at the time. Not yet, anyway. She was doing a screen test for the role after “The Brady Bunch” executive producer Sherwood Schwartz didn’t like the on-screen chemistry between two previously-hired actresses.

He originally had actress Joyce Bulifont play Carol and actress Kathleen Freeman play Alice.

Schwartz didn’t like how it looked, so he went back to the drawing board.

Florence Henderson Had No Interest In ‘The Brady Bunch’

He noticed Henderson from her other TV work and nightclub act, too. When Schwartz reached out, Henderson said she was leaving to go to Houston for a gig and wasn’t interested, according to an article in The Hollywood Reporter.

“I said, ‘I don’t want to do a series. I live in New York,’ ” Henderson said during a 1999 interview with the Archive of American Television.

Her agent at the time urged her to meet Schwartz and director John Rich as long as she didn’t miss her plane. Ultimately, she got asked to do a screen test for “The Brady Bunch.” Now it gets interesting as Henderson crosses paths with William Shatner who, of course, plays Kirk on “Star Trek.”

Henderson, Shatner Cross Paths Before Her Screen Test

“We’re on the ‘Star Trek’ set,” Henderson said. “They made me up in the ‘Star Trek’ dressing room. Bill Shatner was in there. Not overly friendly, I might add, which I have razzed him about many times over the years. They made me up. I went back and did a screen test. Not with Robert Reed, with another actor. They thanked me very much. I got on my plane to Houston that night.”

Well, the following day, Henderson was about to go on stage in Houston. But she received a phone call to get back to Los Angeles for “The Brady Bunch” pilot. Henderson headed back to the City of Angels, did the pilot and, as they say, the rest is TV history.

But the interaction between Henderson and Shatner was short. Yet looking back, both of those actors could hardly have known about the staying power of their very different TV shows for decades.