Florence Henderson will always be, for classic TV fans, Carol Brady from “The Brady Bunch.” She wanted Carol to be a positive influence.
Henderson, who died on Nov. 24, 2016, at 82 years old, shared her thoughts about this in an interview with St. Anthony Messenger.
“I frequently am contacted by people who want to thank me for ‘The Brady Bunch,’” she said. “Whether they grew up during the show’s original television run or are brand-new fans of the present generation, they tell me how important ‘The Brady Bunch’ has been in their lives.
“I wanted to portray Carol as a loving, fun, affectionate mother, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people who maybe had the same situation I did growing up,” Henderson said. “To think that something I was involved in had such a positive effect on the lives of so many people is satisfying beyond words.”
Henderson Never Minded Fans Recognizing Her From ‘The Brady Bunch’
She left quite an impact upon a lot of fans. Henderson didn’t shy away from anyone who recognized her because of “The Brady Bunch.” But her career spanned beyond TV. She also found success on Broadway and even in nightclubs.
One interesting story is around Henderson auditioning for the Carol Brady role. See, Henderson was in Los Angeles and was headed to Houston for a nightclub engagement. But her agent at the time suggested that she go audition for “The Brady Bunch” role.
Henderson agreed on one condition. She could not miss her flight to Houston. Well, she went onto the studio lot where the screen test would be done. Henderson went into the makeup room and happened to be in there with William Shatner of “Star Trek” fame.
Shirley Jones, Not Henderson, Was Given First Chance At Carol Brady Role
It was a moment where both just passed by one another. Henderson did the screen test, left for Houston, then found out that she got the part of a lifetime. In later years, Henderson would never let Shatner forget about that moment in the makeup room. He didn’t say one word to her, something that’s not really a part of Shatner’s personality.
Another tidbit of “Brady Bunch” trivia for fans. Did you know that Henderson wasn’t the first choice for the show? Nope. It happened to be Shirley Jones, or Shirley Partridge of “The Partridge Family” for classic TV fans. Jones was given first dibs on the role by executive producer Sherwood Schwartz. Jones, though, had no interest in playing a mom role where she stays home and raises kids.
So, she turned it down and went on to star in “The Partridge Family” with her stepson, David Cassidy. Henderson got the role, giving TV viewers two memorable motherly roles from 1970s sitcoms.