Florence Henderson – ‘A Lovely Lady’, Gone Too Soon

By Patrick Phillips

2016 has once again taken one of our most beloved performers…

Florence Henderson, a Broadway veteran best known for her role as Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch”, passed away Thursday At 82. Though I never had the opportunity to meet or speak with her in person, it feels as if I’ve lost a close relative.

Growing up in Virginia in the 1980’s, some of my warmest childhood memories are from watching re-runs of “The Brady Bunch”, knowing that within thirty minutes, everyone’s grooviest family would solve all of their problems, just in time for a potato sack race in the Astro-Turf backyard.

In a lot of ways the show was therapeutic for me; Mr. and Mrs. Brady always got along, had amazing advice to offer and most of all, the whole ‘bunch’ seemed like a real family.

For many years I continued watching the series in re-runs on television, and on December 18th, 1988, I tuned in to see the Brady’s reunited on the CBS made-for-television movie “A Very Brady Christmas”. The set (and everyone’s hair) looked a bit different, but the cast stepped right back into their roles (sans Susan Olsen as Cindy).

This time around the problems seemed a bit more ‘mature’, with the familiar characters now dealing with marriage, personal obstacles and job loss. Somehow, it still had the charm of the classic TV show.

I will never forget something that happened while watching “A Very Brady Christmas”, something that had never happened to me before… I cried because of a TV show! It was a downright ugly cry too, as Mike Brady gets trapped in a collapsed building on Christmas Eve, his family full of worry.

In typical Brady-like fashion everything worked out, and “The Brady Bunch” had once again warmed our hearts and reminded us all of the importance of family.

Thank you Florence for your talent, guidance, nurturing spirit and for always being ‘a lovely lady’. You will be missed.

Here is how her ‘TV family’ is remembering her:

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