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Undiscovered Facts about Florence Henderson

Florence Henderson in red

Florence Henderson: Florence Henderson, the iconic TV mom forever known as Carol Brady, led a life as vibrant and multifaceted as the hair she sported on “The Brady Bunch.” While the world remembers her warm smile and endless casseroles, there’s so much more to her story than avocado green appliances and Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! So, let’s peel back the layers and discover some undiscovered facts about the remarkable Florence Henderson:

Florence Henderson

1. Broadway Baby to Queen of Diamonds:

Before gracing TV screens, Florence was a rising star on Broadway. At just 18, she landed the lead role in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” captivating audiences with her powerful vocals and infectious stage presence. Her talent didn’t go unnoticed, and in 1955, she was crowned “Queen of Diamonds” at the prestigious Diamond Jubilee Ball, solidifying her place as a Broadway royalty.

2. The Tonight Show Trailblazer:

In 1955, Florence made history as the first woman to guest host “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” This was a groundbreaking moment in late-night talk shows, paving the way for future generations of female comedians and hosts. Her wit, charm, and ability to hold her own with the legendary Johnny Carson cemented her status as a versatile performer.

3. From Talk Shows to Talkies:

Florence wasn’t afraid to try new things. While on “The Today Show” as the “Today Girl” in the late 1950s, she even dabbled in commercials, charming viewers with her bubbly personality and relatable presence. This paved the way for her foray into film, where she starred in movies like “Sing, Baby, Sing” and “The Shaggy Dog.”

Florence Henderson looking young

4. Hypnotherapy Guru:

After conquering her own fear of flying through hypnotherapy, Florence became a certified hypnotherapist herself. She spent two years training under her second husband, Dr. John Kappas and even used her newfound skills to help families of the terminally ill cope with grief and anxiety. This lesser-known chapter in her life highlights her dedication to personal growth and helping others.

5. A Love Boat Regular:

If you were a fan of “The Love Boat” in the 1970s and 80s, you probably saw Florence Henderson more than once. She holds the record for the most guest appearances among celebrity stars, gracing the decks of the iconic vessel a whopping 11 times! From playing a world-famous chef to a lovelorn cruise director, she brought her signature warmth and comedic timing to every role.

6. Beyond the Bunch:

While “The Brady Bunch” remains her most recognizable role, Florence’s career extended far beyond the Brady household. She hosted numerous cooking shows, including “The Food Network’s Lighter Side Home” and “Classic Sandwich with Florence Henderson,” sharing her love for food and entertaining audiences with her culinary adventures.

7. An Advocate for the Arts:

Florence was a passionate advocate for the arts, especially musical theater. She served on the board of directors for various organizations like The Actors Fund and The Broadway League, supporting young talent and ensuring the future of theatrical productions.

Florence Henderson in red

8. A Life Well-Lived:

Florence Henderson’s life was a testament to her talent, resilience, and zest for living. She embraced new challenges, never stopped learning, and used her platform to make a positive impact on the world. Even after her passing in 2016, her legacy continues to inspire, reminding us to laugh a little louder, sing a little brighter, and savor every moment, just like Carol Brady would have.

These are just a few of the many fascinating and lesser-known facts about Florence Henderson. Her story is a reminder that beneath the iconic roles and dazzling smile, there was a complex and multifaceted woman who lived life to the fullest. So, the next time you hear “The Brady Bunch” theme song, remember that Florence Henderson was much more than just the mom in a groovy orange kitchen. She was a Broadway star, a talk show pioneer, a hypnotherapist, a cruise ship regular, a culinary queen, and an advocate for the arts. She was, in essence, a true Renaissance woman who left an indelible mark on the world, and her story deserves to be celebrated far beyond the Brady compound.