Florence Henderson

Florence Henderson

Infobox actor

imagesize = 150px
caption = Henderson at the 1989 Emmy Awards
birthname = Florence Agnes Henderson
birthdate= birth date and age|1934|02|14
birthplace= Dale, Indiana, U.S.
spouse = John Kappas (1987-2002) (his death)
Ira Bernstein (1956 -1985) (divorced)

Florence Agnes Henderson (born February 14, 1934) is an American actress and singer, perhaps best known for playing the role of Carol Brady in the television program "The Brady Bunch", which ran from 1969 to 1974.


Early life

Henderson, one of ten children, was born on Valentine's Day in Dale, Indiana, the daughter of Elizabeth (née Elder), a homemaker, and Joseph Henderson, a tobacco sharecropper, of Danish origin. [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/63/Florence-Henderson.html Florence Henderson Biography (1984-) ] ] Raised a Roman Catholic, she graduated from St. Francis Academy in Owensboro, Kentucky in 1951; shortly thereafter, she went to New York City, enrolling in the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She is an Aluma Initiate of the Alpha Chi chapter of Delta Zeta Sorority.


Henderson started her career on the stage, performing in musicals, such as the touring production of "Oklahoma!" and "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center. She debuted on Broadway in "Wish You Were Here" in 1952, and later starred in such notable shows as "Fanny" (1954), and "The Girl Who Came to Supper" (1963). In 1962, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago Theatre, and the same year became the first woman to host "The Johnny Carson Show". Talented at skit comedy as well as song and dance, she was ideal for the Dean Martin Variety Show, on which she was a frequent guest.

Her most widely seen role was as "Carol Brady" in "The Brady Bunch" which was produced from 1968 until 1974. A worldwide success, it continues to be screened in many countries through syndication. Primarily owing to her role in the Brady Bunch, Henderson was ranked by TV Land and Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the 100 Greatest TV Icons. Henderson's ability to effortlessly transmit warmth and affection was an essential element to the long enduring success of the Brady Bunch. Henderson was a frequent panelist on the original version of the television game show "Hollywood Squares". She also appeared as Evelyn Tracy in the 1996 movie Black sheep.

Henderson was also the spokeswoman for Wesson cooking oil, from 1976 to 1996. During that time, she hosted a cooking show on TNN called "Country Kitchen", and also did ads for Prange's, a former Wisconsin department store chain. Henderson co-hosted the talk show "Later Today" on NBC (1999-2000) with co-hosts Jodi Applegate and Asha Blake. Today, she is the spokeswoman for Polident denture cleanser (although she does not wear dentures herself). She is also the spokesperson for RainSoft Water Treatment Systems. [ [http://www.rainsoft.com RainSoft Water and Air Treatment: Improve Water and Air Quality ] ] In 2003, Henderson seemed to poke fun at her wholesome image by appearing in a Pepsi Twist television commercial with Ozzy Osbourne.

Henderson regularly tours as a singer on the condominium circuit with other performers such as magician/comedian Jamie Porter. Henderson has also appeared with her TV children whenever the opportunity comes about. For instance, she appeared on the reality-television series "My Fair Brady" starring Christopher Knight. She is also in the sixth season of VH1's "Surreal Life".

In most years since the mid-1990s, the song "God Bless America" has been performed by Henderson at the Indianapolis 500. Henderson is a friend of the Hulman-George family, the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Her performance is followed by "The Star-Spangled Banner," performed by a notable artist each year.

An uncharacteristically naughty Florence can be seen on You Tube, on stage performing a ribald version of "When You're Good to Mama" from the Broadway musical "Chicago."

She appeared in the Weird Al Yankovic video for "Amish Paradise" and co-hosted the daily talk show "Living Live" with former "Designing Women" star Meshach Taylor on Retirement Living TV. The show was reworked to focus on her and was renamed "The Florence Henderson Show".

Personal life

In the mid-1950s, Henderson was diagnosed with a bone deformation of the inner ear, and she had to have surgery to prevent deafness. Henderson married Ira Bernstein in January 1956, and the couple had four children. During the filming of "The Brady Bunch" in Los Angeles, Henderson returned to the family's New York home each weekend to spend time with her children. In 1985, she divorced him after almost 29 years of marriage. She later married Dr. John Kappas, a hypnotherapist she met when battling depression in the mid 1980s. Henderson studied hypnotherapy and is a licensed therapist. Kappas died in 2002.

In recent years she has been a supporter of the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana. One of the Sisters was her teacher when she was young; so, she has very fond memories of the them. She has appeared in a number of their promotional videos and has helped in fund raising efforts. She has won money for them on the game show Weakest Link and on a classic-television-themed episode of Millionaire in 2001, winning $32,000 in their name. She used her brother as a Phone-a-Friend lifeline for the $64,000 question on a question about laser colors and was right. But then got the $125,000 question wrong and lost $32,000. When Florence appeared on the VH1 show Surreal Life, she made a point of showing respect to the Catholic church and the Sisters of St. Benedict by refusing to dress in a nun's costume for a comedy skit.



* "General Foods 25th Anniversary Show: A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein" (1954)
* "Sing Along" (1958 – 1959)
* "Little Women" (1958)
* "The Jack Paar Show" (regular guest from 1958-1962)
* "Oldsmobile Music Theatre" (1959) (canceled after a few months)
* "The Today Show" (Today Girl from 1959-1960)
* "The Brady Bunch" (1969 – 1974)
* "The Love Boat" (1976) (pilot for series)
* "The Muppet Show" (1976) guest star
* "The Brady Girls Get Married" (1981)
* "The Brady Brides" (1981) (canceled after 10 episodes)
* "Country Kitchen" (1985-????)
* "Just a Regular Kid: An AIDS Story" (1987)
* "A Very Brady Christmas" (1988)
* "The Bradys" (1990) (canceled after 6 episodes)
* "Fudge-A-Mania" (1995)
* "Short Cut Cooking" (1998 – 2000)
* "Later Today" (1999-2000)
* "Legend of the Candy Cane" (2001)
* "Moms On Strike" (2002)
* "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (2002) (Guest appearance)
* "Speaking of Women's Health" (2003-????)
* "The Surreal Life" (cast member in 2006)
* "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" (2007)
* "Living Live" (2007)
* "Loonatics Unleashed" (2007) (voice)
* "The Florence Henderson Show" (2008)


* "Song of Norway" (1970)
* "Shakes the Clown" (1992)
* "" (1994) (Cameo)
* "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995)
* "Holy Man" (1998) (Cameo)
* "Get Bruce" (1999) (documentary)
* "" (2003)
* "Venus & Vegas" (2006)
* "For Heaven's Sake" (2006)


External links

* [http://www.flohome.com/ Florence Henderson official site]
* [http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=%22archive+of+american+television+interview+with+florence+henderson%22 Archive of American Television Interview with Florence Henderson October 20 1999 on Google Video]

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