Henderson at the 1989 Emmy Awards
|Born||Florence Agnes Henderson
February 14, 1934 
Dale, Indiana, U.S.
|Known for||The Brady Bunch|
|Spouse(s)||Ira Bernstein (m. 1956; div. 1985)
John Kappas (m. 1987; d. 2002)
Florence Agnes Henderson (born February 14, 1934) is an American actress and singer with a career spanning six decades. She is best known for her starring role as matriarch Carol Brady on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974. Henderson has also appeared on film as well as on stage and hosted several long-running cooking and variety shows over the years. She has appeared as a guest on many scripted and non-scripted (talk and reality shows) television programs and as a panelist on numerous game shows. She was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2010. Henderson currently hosts her own talk show, The Florence Henderson Show, and cooking show, Who's Cooking with Florence Henderson, on Retirement Living TV (RLTV).
Henderson, the youngest of ten children, was born on February 14, 1934, in Dale, Indiana, a small town in the southwestern part of the state. Henderson is a daughter of Elizabeth (née Elder), a homemaker, and Joseph Henderson, a tobacco sharecropper. She is of Irish Catholic ancestry. During the Great Depression, she was taught to sing at the age of two by her mother, who had a repertoire of fifty songs. By the time she was eight, her family called her "Florency", and by age twelve, she was singing at local grocery stores. Henderson graduated from St. Francis Academy in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1951; shortly thereafter, she went to New York City, enrolling in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She is an Alumna 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 the musical Wish You Were Here in 1952, and later starred on Broadway in the long-running 1954 musical, Fanny (888 performances) in which she originated the title role. Henderson along with Bill Hayes did the Oldsmobile commercials from 1958 through 1961 on The Patti Page Show which Oldsmobile was the sponsor. Henderson also appeared on Broadway in 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 guest host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She also joined the ranks of what was then called "The Today Girl" on NBC's long running morning show, doing weather and light news, a position also once held by Barbara Walters.
Her most widely seen role was as Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch which aired on ABC from 1969 until 1974. Henderson's best friend, Shirley Jones, had previously turned down the role as at the time she wasn't ready to do a TV series and she needed to spend more time with her family.
Henderson was 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. In the 2000s, she was the spokeswoman for Polident denture cleanser. In 2003, Henderson seemed to poke fun at her wholesome image by appearing in a Pepsi Twist television commercial with Ozzy Osbourne.
In most years since the mid-1990s, the song "God Bless America" has been performed by Henderson at the Indianapolis 500 accompanied by the Purdue All-American Marching Band, at the request of the Hulman-George family, the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and friends of Henderson's.
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. In 2002, she made a memorable guest appearance on improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, participating in on-screen kisses with Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie.
Since 2008, Henderson has been the host of her own television series, The Florence Henderson Show, which airs on RLTV (Retirement Living TV). The show was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010. In May 2010, Henderson did a series of promotional radio ads for Fox. On the July 12, 2010 edition of WWE Raw, Henderson appeared as the night's guest host.
Henderson was one of twelve celebrities competing on the eleventh season of Dancing with the Stars which premiered on September 20, 2010. Her professional partner was Corky Ballas. On October 19, 2010, she was eliminated from the show after receiving the lowest combined total of judges' scores and viewer votes.
In February 2013, Henderson began hosting her own cooking show, Who's Cooking with Florence Henderson, on RLTV.
In the mid-1950s, Henderson was diagnosed with a bone deformation of the middle ear, and she had to have surgery to prevent deafness (later she was made an honorary member of the Delta Zeta sorority, which does work for the House Ear Institute and the hearing impaired).
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 her autobiography Life Is Not A Stage, she acknowledges her occasional infidelity during her marriage to Bernstein, including an affair with then-New York City Mayor, John Lindsay, who the actress claims gave her crab lice. She divorced Bernstein in 1985 after almost 29 years of marriage. She later married John Kappas, a hypnotherapist and founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, whom she met while battling depression in the mid-1980s; Kappas died in 2002. Henderson studied hypnotherapy and is a certified hypnotherapist.
Since the 2000s, she has been a more public benefactor of the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana; some of the nuns were her teachers during her early education. She has appeared in a number of their promotional videos and has helped in fund-raising efforts. She has won money for the Sisters on the game show Weakest Link and on a classic-television-themed episode of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in 2001, winning $32,000 in their name. On the show Henderson used her son Joseph as a Phone-a-Friend lifeline for the $64,000 question on a question about laser colors and answered correctly; she got the $125,000 question wrong, however, and lost $32,000. When Henderson appeared on the The Surreal Life, she made a point of showing respect for the Catholic Church and the Sisters of St. Benedict by refusing to dress in a nun's costume for a comedy skit.
|1954||General Foods 25th Anniversary Show: A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein||Laurey||TV Movie|
|1956||I Spy||Nymph||Episode: "The Abbe and the Nymph"|
|1957–58||The U.S. Steel Hour||Episodes: "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1957) and "A Family Alliance" (1958)|
|1958||Little Women||Meg March|
|1958–62||Tonight Starring Jack Paar||Herself||Regular guest|
|1959||Oldsmobile Music Theatre||Canceled after a few months|
|1959||The Bell Telephone Hour|
|1959–60||The Today Show||Herself||Today Girl|
|1968||The Dean Martin Show||Guest appearance|
|1969–74||The Brady Bunch||Carol Ann Brady||117 episodes|
|1970||A World Of Love – Celebrating UNICEF||CBS Special Broadcast|
|1976||The Love Boat||pilot for series|
|1976||The Muppet Show||Herself||Episode: "Florence Henderson"|
|1976||The Paul Lynde Halloween Special||Herself|
|1976–77||The Brady Bunch Hour||Carol Ann Brady||9 episodes|
|1981||The Brady Girls Get Married||Carol Ann Brady||TV reunion movie|
|1981||The Love Boat||Annabelle Folker||Episode: "Country Cousin Blues"|
|1981||The Brady Brides||Carol Ann Brady||TV series; canceled after 10 episodes|
|1982||Police Squad!||Shot woman||Episode: "Rendezvous at Big Gulch (Terror in the Neighborhood)"|
|1982–85||The $25,000 Pyramid||Herself||Contestant|
|1983||Alice||Sarah James||Episode: "It Had to Be Mel"|
|1985–86||The $100,000 Pyramid||Herself||Contestant|
|1986, 1990||Murder, She Wrote||Maria Morgana / Patti Sue Diamond||2 episodes|
|1986||L.A. Law||Margaret Flanagan|
|1987||It's Garry Shandling's Show||Guest appearance|
|1987||Just a Regular Kid: An AIDS Story||Ellen Casio||After school special|
|1988||A Very Brady Christmas||Carol Ann Brady||TV movie|
|1990||The Bradys||Carol Ann Brady||TV series; canceled after six episodes. Also sang third version of theme song|
|1993–95||Dave's World||Maggie||Occasional; Beth's mother|
|1994||Roseanne||Flo Anderson||Episode: "Suck Up or Shut Up"|
|1996||Ellen||Madeline||Episode: "Joe's Kept Secret"|
|2000||The King of Queens||Lily||Carrie Heffernan's stepmother
Episode: "Dark Meet"
|2001||Legend of the Candy Cane||Thelma||Voice role|
Episode: "The Brady Bunch Episode"
|2001||Who Wants to Be a Millionaire||Herself||Contestant|
|2002||Mom's on Strike||Betty||TV movie|
|2002||Speaking of Women's Health||Herself||Guest, discussing her battle with osteoporosis|
|2002||Whose Line Is It Anyway?||Herself||Guest appearance|
|2003||Intimate Portrait: Florence Henderson||Herself||Interviewee|
|2003||The 26th Annual Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts||Herself||Special appearance|
|2006||The Surreal Life||Herself||Cast member|
|2007||The Ellen DeGeneres Show||Herself||Guest appearance|
|2007||Living Live||Herself||Co-host with Meshach Taylor|
|2006||Loonatics Unleashed||Mallory "Mastermind" Casey||2 episodes|
|2008||Ladies of the House||Rose Olmstead||TV movie|
|2008–present||The Florence Henderson Show||Herself||Host|
|2009||Samantha Who||Loretta||Guest appearance|
|2010||WWE Raw||Herself||Guest host|
|2010||Dancing with the Stars||Herself||Contestant|
|2012||The Cleveland Show||Nanny Barbara||Episode: "The Men in Me"|
|2012||The Living Room||Guest appearances|
|2012||Handy Manny||Aunt Ginny||Episode: "Handy Manny and the Seven Tools"|
|2012||Matchmaker Santa||Peggy||TV Movie|
|2012||Happily Divorced||Elizabeth||Episode: "Meet the Parents"|
|2012||30 Rock||Herself||Episode: "My Whole Life Is Thunder"|
|2013–present||Who's Cooking with Florence Henderson||Herself||Host|
|2016||K.C. Undercover||Irma||Episode: "Dance Like No One's Watching"|
|1970||Song of Norway||Nina Grieg|
|1992||Shakes the Clown||The Unknown Woman|
|1994||Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult||Cameo|
|1995||The Brady Bunch Movie||Grandma (Carol's mother)||Cameo|
|1996||For Goodness Sake II||Video store customer|
|2003||Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star||Herself|
|2008||For Heaven's Sake||Sarah Miller|
|2010||The Christmas Bunny||Betsy Ross|
|Venus & Vegas||Carmen|
|2011||The Family Group|
|2016||Fifty Shades of Black||Mrs. Robinson|
|1952||Wish You Were Here||The New Girl|
|1953||The Great Waltz||Resi|
|1961–62, 1968, 1978||The Sound of Music||Maria Rainer|
|1963–64||The Girl Who Came to Supper||Mary Morgan|
|1965||The King and I||Anna|
|1966||Jerome Kern's Theatre|
|1967||South Pacific||Nellie Forbush|
|1974, 1981||Annie Get Your Gun||Annie Oakley|
|1978||Bells Are Ringing|
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- "Greatest TV Icons: Nos. 100–51". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. November 12, 2007. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- "Florence Henderson". Hollywood Bowl. Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- Gliatto, Tom; Eftimiades, Maria; Abrahams, Andrew; Baker, Kathryn; Johnston, Jerry (June 1, 1992). "Here's the Story...". People. 37 (21). Retrieved February 2, 2014.
Henderson is in her 17th year touting "Wessonality" for Wesson Oil. For eight years she has been host of Florence Henderson's Country Kitchen, a cooking show on the Nashville Network.
- "Mrs. Brady's Wake-Up Call". People. February 18, 1999. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
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- "Jim Nabors returning to Indy 500". ESPN. AP. May 23, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
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- "Florence Henderson". Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Season 5. Episode 4. September 30, 2002. ABC.
- "The Florence Henderson Show". Retirement Living TV. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- DWTS Women: Jennifer Grey, Florence Henderson, Britol Palin, Brandy and More
- Shira, Dahvi (October 20, 2010). "Florence Henderson's Dancing Departure Leaves Brandy in Tears". People. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "Florence Henderson and Chef Govind Armstrong Team Up for RLTV's Who's Cooking With Florence Henderson, Premiering Feb. 27 at 9 PM ET". The Wall Street Journal. PR Newswire. February 15, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- "Overview for Florence Henderson". Turner Classic Movies. Turner Entertainment Networks. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- "NBC DFW 'Florence Henderson: NY Mayor Gave Me Crabs'".
- Stark, John (March 12, 2013). "No Stopping Florence Henderson". Next Avenue. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?". Florence Henderson's Official Site. F.H.B. Productions, INC. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- McNamara, Pat (February 14, 2009). "Happy Birthday, Mrs. Brady!". Patheos. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "Florence on TV". Florence Henderson. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
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