Florence Henderson, 82

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Here’s the story of a lovely lady who became one of America’s most beloved television moms.

"Sometimes my kids would say to me, you know, how come you don't scream at those kids on television like you do us? I said, because they're not my real kids, and you are, and I want you to turn out to be wonderful human beings -- and they have."

- Florence Henderson

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Henderson got her start in stage musicals and, early in her career, was a mainstay on the “Today” show. As a “Today Girl,” pictured here on her first day in 1959, Henderson presented light lifestyle news.

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Florence Henderson is remembered best as Carol Brady, the sunny, blended-family mom of six on “The Brady Brunch” (1969-1974). “It was really a show that was seen through the eyes of a child, and it was supposed to have a little soft glow about it,” she said to those who criticized the show for its relentless wholesomeness. Top row (left to right) Maureen McCormick, Henderson, Barry Williams, Christopher Knight; bottom row: Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland, Robert Reed and Susan Olsen.

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Set in California, “The Brady Brunch” offered a cheery look at suburban family life. Thanks to syndication, the show reached generations of audiences. Henderson, seen here in 1970, had a sense of humor about her character. When asked whether Carol had been widowed or divorced, she joked in 2015, “I killed my husband. I was the original Black Widow.”

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Henderson stayed active in show business for decades, making cameos in shows like “30 Rock,” competing on “Dancing With the Stars” and appearing in commercials.

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