Actress Florence Henderson, who is best remembered for her starring role as matriarch Carol Brady on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974, has died in Los Angeles. She was 82 years old. (more)
Henderson died of heart failure at about 7:30 p.m. PT on Thursday while surrounded by friends and family, her manager, Kayla Pressman, said. Henderson had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles since Wednesday.
Born in the town of Dale in Indiana in 1934, Henderson began her acting career at age 17 when she entered the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She made her Broadway debut just a year later and landed a minor role in Joshua Logan’s musical "Wish You Were Here."
Even though it was just a minor role, Henderson grabbed the attention of the musical theater writing team Rodgers and Hammerstein, who let her play the lead in the national tour of the musical "Oklahoma!".
Henderson first went to California in 1952 and starred as Resi in the musical "The Great Waltz", which played at the Los Angeles Civil Light Opera. She made her first appearances on television over the next few years, most of them relatively minor roles.
Years later, Henderson returned to New York where she would star as Anna in the popular musical "The King and I" in 1965. Just four years later she would appear as mother Carol Brady on the ABC sitcom "The Brady Bunch," which made her an international star.
Henderson's official biography noted that, when she took the role in 1969, she wanted to make Carol Brady more realistic and 'begged' the studio to let the character have a job, but her request was refused.
The sitcom was an enormous success and aired for 5 seasons until 1974, but the series has never been off the air since. Reruns have continuously played on American television since 1974, and the series has also aired in at least 122 other countries around the world.
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