Saturday, 26 November 2016

Florence Henderson R.I.P.

Singer and actress Florence Henderson died on November 24 2016 at the age of 82. The cause was heart failure. She was a veteran of the TV shows Today and The Brady Bunch.

Florence Henderson was born on February 14 1934 in Dale, Indiana. She was the youngest of ten children, born to a tobacco sharecropper. Her mother taught her to sing at age 2. Her family being poor, she started working when she was only 8 years old, babysitting and cleaning houses. She would sometimes sing in order to get groceries. She attended  St. Francis Academy in Owensboro, Kentucky. After graduating she moved to New York City and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

She made her debut on Broadway in Wish You Were Here in 1952. In the Fifties she also appeared on Broadway in Oklahoma! and Fanny. She made her television debut as part of the cast of Oklahoma in 1954 on the special General Foods 25th Anniversary Show: A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein. In the Fifties she appeared on such shows as The Big Record, The Patti Page Oldsmobile Show, Oldsmobile Music Theatre, The Voice of Firestone, The Bing Crosby Show, and I've Got a Secret. She guest starred on The U.S. Steel Hour. She was a regular on The Jack Paar Tonight Show.

In the Sixties she guest starred on I Spy. She appeared in such shows as The Gary Moore Show, The Dean Martin Show, Hollywood Palace, To Tell the Truth, and The Ed Sullivan Show. She was the host of The Bell Telephone Hour and a regular and The Today Show and The Jack Paar Programme. It was in 1969 that she was cast as Carol Brady on the highly successful sitcom The Brady Bunch. She appeared on Broadway in The Girl Who Came to Supper.

In the Seventies she continued to appear on The Brady Bunch. She also appeared in the spinoff The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. She guest starred on Medical Centre, 3 Girls 3, Good Heavens, and The Love Boat. She appeared in the film Song of Norway (1970).

In the Eighties Miss Henderson guest starred on such shows as Hart to Hart, Police Squad!, Alice, Fantasy Island, Glitter, Day By Day, and Murder, She Wrote.  She reprised her role as Carol Brady on The Brady Brides and The Bradys. In the Nineties she appeared in the films Shakes the Clown (1991), Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), and For Goodness Sake II (1996). She guest starred on such shows as  Roseanne, Dave's World, Ellen, Hercules, Ally McBeal, and King of Queens.

In the Naughts she appeared in such films as Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003), For Heaven's Sake (2008), The Christmas Bunny (2010), and Venus & Vegas (2010). In the Teens she guest starred on such shows as The Cleveland Show, Happily Divorced, 30 Rock, Trophy Wife, Sofia the First, K.C. Undercover, and The Eleventh. She appeared in the film Fifty Shades of Black (2016).

As many of you know, I was never a fan of The Brady Bunch, not even as a lad. That having been said, I always have liked Florence Henderson. What many forget is that she was a wonderful singer. She had a simply incredible voice. Had she been born in an earlier era, I rather suspect she would have been a star of Hollywood musicals. Florence Hendrson was also bright and gifted a wickedly twisted sense of humour. I loved seeing her on talk shows and game shows, as I swear she could make me laugh more than many professional comedians. Miss Henderson's sense of humour came in use in the many sitcoms on which she guest starred, not to mention the comedy films in which she appeared. She was a very talented lady, and one who was always guaranteed to bring smiles to people's faces.


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