‘The Brady Bunch’: Susan Olsen Revealed Why Florence Henderson Was an ‘Iconic’ TV Mom

by Joe Rutland
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Actress Susan Olsen, who played Cindy on “The Brady Bunch,” thought quite highly of her “iconic” TV mom, Florence Henderson.

In fact, Henderson, who played Carol Brady, got a lot of love from Olsen during a 2018 interview Olsen did with the blog Monster A Go-Go.

Olsen, when asked why she thought Carol Brady was one of those iconic TV moms, said, “Mostly because the show itself was so iconic and that was due to many factors and 8 other cast members.”

Cindy was the youngest of three sisters with Marcia, played by Maureen McCormick, and Jan, played by Eve Plumb. Henderson found herself connected with Mike Brady, played by Robert Reed, who had three boys of his own on “The Brady Bunch.”

Olsen Felt Like ‘The Brady Bunch’ Mom Could Have Made It On Her Own

There was a trend in television moms when the show originally aired in the late 1960s to early 1970s that “Mom” played her safe role in the “nuclear family.”

Olsen reflected back on what set Henderson’s role on “The Brady Bunch” apart from other TV moms at that time or before.

“She was a little before the liberation age, so she was still a stay-at-home mom,” Olsen said. “But you got the feeling she could survive on her own. It was always intended that she was divorced.

“That would have really set her apart but the network would not allow it!”

Back in those days, having the main female character be divorced didn’t sit well with network executives.

Henderson Remembered Robert Reed As Being ‘Unhappy’

Obviously, Henderson shared a lot of screen time with her TV husband Reed. But a part of his life that he kept secret proved to be troublesome for Reed.

Reed died in 1992 from cancer. His death certificate says he received an HIV infection diagnosis. Reed struggled with his sexuality, revealing on his death bed that he was gay.

Henderson shared a little bit about being around Reed away from “The Brady Bunch” camera.

“Here he was, the perfect father of this wonderful little family, a perfect husband,” Henderson said. “He was an unhappy person … I think had Bob not been forced to live this double life, I think it would have dissipated a lot of that anger and frustration.”

Henderson died on Nov. 24, 2016, at 82 years old. Her career spanned work in nightclubs, theater, and TV, but she’ll always be remembered for being Carol Brady.

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