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Florence Henderson (1934 - 2016)

Getty / Silver Screen Collection

Florence Henderson (1934 - 2016)

Florence Henderson, the actress known to millions as Carol Brady from TV’s “The Brady Bunch,” died Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, of heart failure, according to multiple news sources. She was 82.

She died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, surrounded by friends and family. Her publicist, David Brokaw, told The Associated Press that she had been hospitalized the day before.

The actress’ best-known role was Carol Brady, the patient, loving mother on “The Brady Bunch.” The sitcom, which ran from 1969 to 1974 and in reruns ever since, followed the adventures of a large blended family brought together by the marriage of Mike and Carol Brady.

The wholesome, family-oriented sitcom proved a huge success in syndicated reruns, and Henderson reprised her role on the variety show spinoff, “The Brady Bunch Hour” (1976-77) as well as several reunion specials. She also appeared as Grandma Brady in the satirical film adaptation, “The Brady Bunch Movie,” in 1995.

“It represents what people always wanted: a loving family. It’s such a gentle, innocent, sweet show, and I guess it proved there’s always an audience for that,” Henderson said in 1999, commenting on the show's enduring success.

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Henderson knew what it was like growing up in a large family. The youngest of 10 children, she was born Feb. 14, 1934, in Dale, Indiana. She got her start as an actress in her high school's operetta. She moved to New York City and enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

She debuted on Broadway in 1952, and in 1954 she starred in the lead role of the long-running musical “Fanny.” Before “The Brady Bunch,” she appeared on television on the "Today" show doing weather and news and guest-hosted “The Tonight Show” before Johnny Carson took over as permanent host.

After “The Brady Bunch,” she was a frequent guest star on a variety of shows, and appeared as a celebrity guest on game shows like “Hollywood Squares” and, more recently, “Dancing with the Stars.”

She was also a successful spokeswoman for Wesson cooking oil and Polident denture cleaner.

Henderson is survived by her children, Barbara, Joseph, Robert, Lizzie, and their families.

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