Sad news came across Friday morning when one of America’s favorite television mothers, Florence Henderson, died aged 82. As Carol Brady, she fit the image of the All-American mother juggling home life and six children. She even fitted in more with the late-Robert Reed as the father, Mike Brady, giving us the typical, 50s like family, mixed in with issues of the day. It was not like its competitors All In The Family or The Mary Tyler Moore Show where it went into very liberal subjects and spoke frankly on the topics. It is probably why the show was axed after 5 seasons, yet kept on being seen through syndication, giving the show continuing popularity decades later with a younger generation.
Everyone has a favorite among the tic-tac-toe of characters in its signature three-by-three grid opening (Carol was top center). In the case of Henderson, she embraced the role that made her a household name and happily took it with her everywhere she went. She talked about the realities of motherhood and how Carol was very much like her in real life and how parents should always show love and wisdom to their children, no matter what trouble they got into. It was the niche that attracted her popularity, even in cameos doing other shows and commercials.
And, as fate would have it, the role was never hers to begin with. When the original actress dropped out and Henderson was called upon, she didn’t want to go because she wanted to stay in New York. Persuasion by her agent got her on a plane to Los Angeles for a screen test and the rest is history.
Henderson is the third actor of the main cast to be deceased. Hopefully, the other six continue on with a prosperous and long life because, in 2016, we’ve lost way too many great names in entertainment.