Brady Bunch actress Florence Henderson dies

Friends and colleagues pay tribute to the beloved sitcom star

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Florence Henderson, known to millions for playing the upbeat mum Carol Brady in the 1970s American sitcom The Brady Bunch, has died aged 82. 

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According to her representatives, she died on Thanksgiving on Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, surrounded by family and friends, a day after being admitted to hospital.

Launched in 1969, The Brady Brunch revolved around a large “blended” family formed by two single parents coming together. Henderson’s character was ever-cheerful and loved by viewers the world over.

Henderson was born in 1934 in southern Indiana, and her acting career began in theatre before segueing into television.

Highlights of her stage career included portraying Maria in The Sound of Music and Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun.

Henderson’s career nearly ended in 1965 when she suddenly lost her hearing while appearing in The King and I in Los Angeles – she was diagnosed with a hereditary condition called osteosclerosis and had corrective surgery in both ears.

Brady Bunch co-star Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia, is among celebrities to pay tribute to the actress on social media:

Oscar-winning actresses Marlee Matlin and Patricia Arquette also marked her passing, along with Boy George, talk-show host Larry King and more. 

Henderson was a contestant on Dancing in the Stars in 2010 and appeared on the show days before her death in support of McCormick, a contestant in the last series.

The actress made several TV appearances outside of The Brady Bunch and was the first female guest host of The Tonight Show.

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She also made cameo appearances in comedies such as Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star and Fifty Shades of Black.