Florence Henderson, who began her career as an ingénue soprano in stage musicals in the 1950s but made a more lasting impression on television, as the perky 1970s sitcom mom on “The Brady Bunch,” died on Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 82.
Her death was confirmed by David Brokaw, her publicist. He said that she died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and that her family said the cause was heart failure.
[The New York Times]
Mike and Carol Brady have always been on my list of candidates for eventual inclusion into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. And they would be multi–dimensional characters, to boot!
So when I opened up Facebook first thing this morning, before even getting out of bed, and seeing all the posts about the death of Florence Henderson, I knew Mr. and Mrs. Brady would have to be put on the fast track for induction.
But like Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, who also just passed away, I decided to save them both for next year when I will be doing a memorial theme the whole year long.
But fear not, gentle Tooblings! The TVXOHOF can still commemorate Florence Henderson by inducting her as a member of the League of Themselves.
'The Muppet Show'
- Florence Henderson (1976)
The Muppet Theater is plagued by pig-related problems with The Bouncing Borcellino Brothers flubbing their opening act and Miss Piggy throwing herself at an uninterested Kermit, then later gets jealous at guest star Florence Henderson who she thinks is gonna steal her frog away. [IMDb]
'It's Garry Shandling's Show'
- The Schumakers Go to Hollywood (1987)
Grant wins a trip to Hollywood and decides to attend a taping of 'It’s Garry Shandling’s Show'.
'Out of This World'
- My Mom, and Why I Love Her (1991)
After spending a $200 check from her grandmother rather than putting it into the bank as ordered by her mother, Evie Garland entered a slew of money-making magazine contests. She ended up winning for an essay about how great her Mom was.
But Evie didn't expect a magazine rep to show up and see their mother-daughter dynamic in person. Caught in a bind, Evie summoned a simulacrum of Florence Henderson to stand in as her mother. So not the real thing, but her similarity to, and knowledge of, the real Florence Henderson confirms the reality of the actress.
There was an episode of 'The Brady Bunch' with the title "Out Of This World". And since this episode title dealt with the Terran Mom of the alien hybrid Evie, Florence Henderson seems like the perfect choice for guest star. Although I consider June Lockhart to be America's TV Mom.
'Caroline in the City'
- Caroline and the Balloon (1995)
Caroline is thrilled when she gets to relive her childhood dream: as her comic strip is showcased as the newest balloon in a Thanksgiving Day parade but chaos ensues afterwards, when the balloon is set free and injures Wessonality Float hostess, Florence Henderson. [IMDb]
- Salute to Getting Off Easy (1995)
'Night Stand with Dick Dietrick' is an American television comedy show that satirized American tabloid talk shows. [Wikipedia]
I can't find any more information than that she was a guest on this pseudo-talk show. But given its tabloid nature, and the fact that Florence Henderson enjoyed lampooning her "America's Mom" image, I would not be surprised if host Dietrick probed into her well-publicized "date" with Barry Williams, who played her stepson Greg Brady on 'The Brady Bunch' and who was almost twenty years her junior.
(I'd hate to think they dealt with her one night stand NYC Mayor John Lindsay and its unfortunate effects. I only learned about that chapter in her life just now as I Googled the name of the this show & Florence Henderson.....)
- My Whole Life Is Thunder (2012)
Kenneth tells Tracy he is upset that girlfriend Hazel lost her job at TGS and then dumped him. Tracy tries to cheer him up by making life more like TV, where people never leave, including by bringing in old TV star Florence Henderson. [IMDb]
These four shows can be included in her tally, but have no influence in determining her eligibility for entry in the Hall:
'The Surreal Life'
'My Fair Brady'
'The Florence Henderson Show'
She also appeared as herself in two movies, but those should be included in any Cineverse archives which might exist:
"Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult"
"Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star"
Even though the "Naked Gun" franchise grew out of the TV show 'Police Squad', there were enough recasting discrepancies to consider the movies as a separate entity in its own fictional universe.
So I salute you, Florence Henderson. And I will admit that when 'The Brady Bunch' was first on the air, I had a major crush on you. For me, it was never Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!
Good night and may God bless.....