Florence Henderson, "Brady Bunch" mom, dead at 82


Actress Florence Henderson arrives at the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Respect Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., Friday, Oct. 8, 2010.

AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Florence Henderson, the mother of “The Brady Brunch,” died Thursday night in Los Angeles after suffering heart failure. She was 82. She will be best remembered for her TV family that was both modern and traditional, reports CBS News correspondent Dana Jacobson.

Henderson was best known as America’s mom. In the fall of 1969, she became Carol Brady, the stepmother and nearly flawless matriarch of “The Brady Bunch.”

That role was the crowning jewel of a more than 60-year career that spanned all aspects of show business.

Henderson told correspondent Sandra Hughes on “CBS Sunday Morning” in 2010 that the character may have been too perfect.

“A lot of women say to me, ‘You know, I really hated you because my kids wanted you to be their mother,’” Henderson said. 

From the archives: Florence Henderson, America's Mom

The show was among the first to introduce an audience to a blended family. Though it ended in 1974, reruns and reboots kept the Bradys -- and Henderson -- in the spotlight for multiple generations. 

“I grew up in a very large, poor family,” Henderson said in the “CBS Sunday Morning” interview.

“Ten kids right?” Hughes asked.

“Ten,” Henderson said.

Born in the small town of Dale, Indiana, in 1934, Henderson’s family was reminiscent of the one she led on television.

Her affinity for performance brought her to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and then to Broadway, where she starred in multiple leading rolls. 

That launched a multi-faceted career that never seemed to stop. 

“What is the one thing that, I guess, is the most different about you from Carol Brady?” Hughes asked.

“That’s a very good question,” Henderson said, laughing. “First of all, I’ve always worked. I’ve always had a job.”

But regardless of what that job was, to most of America, Florence Henderson will always be “mom.”

Fittingly, Henderson is survived by a large family; four children and five grandchildren. As for her Brady Bunch family, Maureen McCormick, who played her daughter, Marcia Brady, tweeted a picture Thursday night along with the caption, “You are in my heart forever Florence.”