Florence Henderson

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her four-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Florence Henderson (1934-2016) discusses her career as an actress, first on Broadway, and later on television. She talks about her appearances on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar and becoming the show's first female guest host. She speaks of her tenure as a "Today Girl" on NBC's Today, and recalls her appearance on Jim Henson's The Muppet Show. She then details her time as "Carol Brady" on the hit sitcom, The Brady Bunch, reminisces about later Brady incarnations (made-for-television movies and feature films), and speaks of the place that the show holds in pop culture. She touches on her long-time affiliation with Wesson Oil, and mentions her work on the first Emmy Webcast and on NBC's Later Today. Michael Rosen conducted the interview in two parts on October 20 and October 29, 1999 in New York, NY.

"I think that God does give us all different gifts and sometimes it takes people longer to find what that gift is. I was just lucky that I found it early. I loved to entertain. I loved to make people smile. I loved to make them feel something and I've never lost that desire."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Florence Henderson on how she got cast as "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on becoming the first female guest host on The T onight Show
Florence Henderson on her commercials for Wesson Oil
Florence Henderson on starring in "The King and I" with Ricardo Montalban
Florence Henderson on one of the highlights of her career: being on The Muppet Show
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early interests; on living through the Depression years; on loving music and books as a child
On attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York; on deciding to become an actress and working on Broadway

Chapter 2

On her work in theater productions of "Wish You Were Here", "Oklahoma!", and "Fanny"
On her early memories of television; on her first TV appearances on The Tex and Jinx Show, The Bell Telephone Hour, and Sing Along; on getting married

Chapter 3

On her appearances on The Tonight Show aka The Jack Paar Show, and becoming a regular and the first female guest host on the show 
On co-hosting jobs and appearances on The Big Record; on being a "Today Girl" on Today
On working during her pregnancies

Chapter 4

On her appearances on The Dean Martin Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Jonathan Winters Show
On her game show appearances and enjoying being on Password and Hollywood Squares; on touring with "The Sound of Music" and starring in "The King and I" with Ricardo Montalban; on Later Today
On how she got cast as "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch

Chapter 5

On the success of The Brady Bunch and why the show appealed to her; on The Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz
On shooting the pilot and production on the show; on being peacemaker between Robert Reed and Sherwood Schwartz
On the development of "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch; on working with Ann B. Davis; on how the children were cast on the show

Chapter 6

On the children and their real-life parents on the set of The Brady Bunch; on her role as "Carol Brady" and her character's look and wardrobe
On memorable episodes of The Brady Bunch - playing her own grandmother, shooting in Hawaii, the song and dance numbers, and her favorite episodes
On the end of The Brady Bunch; on her appearances on The Tom Jones Show, The Muppet Show, and The Love Boat

Chapter 7

On her role on Just Another Kid: an AIDS Story; on her cooking shows
On The Brady Bunch movies; on advice to aspiring actors; on her mentors

Chapter 8

On the cast and guest stars on The Brady Bunch; on shooting at Paramount; on the actors who played her children on The Brady Bunch and her "date" with Barry Williams
On the cancellation of The Brady Bunch; on the reunion specials and spin-off series: The Brady Bunch Hou r, The Brady Girls Get Married, and The Brady Brides
On her commercials for Wesson Oil

Chapter 9

On her work on the Wesson oil commercials
On her appearances on Nashville Now, and Hart to Hart; on hosting the first awards show on the web; on her website
On appearing on Murder She Wrote and A Very Brady Christmas
On working with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; on spoofing "Carol Brady" on Day by Day and resuming the role of "Carol Brady" on The Bradys

Chapter 10

On co-authoring a book with children's show creator Sherri Lewis
On her work on Ellen and The Rosie O'Donnell Show; on co-hosting Later Today; on how she'd like to be remembered
Shows

Bell Telephone Hour, The

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Bell Telephone Hour

Brady Brides, The

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Florence Henderson on The Brady Girls Get Married and The Brady Brides

Brady Bunch Hour, The

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Florence Henderson on The Brady Bunch Hour

Brady Bunch, The

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Florence Henderson on how she got cast as "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on the success of The Brady Bunch and why the show appealed to her
Florence Henderson on The Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz
Florence Henderson on auditioning for The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on shooting the pilot of The Brady Bunch and production on the show
Florence Henderson on working with The Brady Bunch director John Rich
Florence Henderson on why The Brady Bunch was not filmed in multi-cam in front of an audience
Florence Henderson on a typical work week on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on Robert Reed not getting along with show creator Sherwood Schwartz on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on the development of "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on working with Ann B. Davis ("Alice") on The Brady Bunch  
Florence Henderson on how the kids were cast on The Brady Bunch  
Florence Henderson on "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on the children and their real-life parents on the set of The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on the premise of The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on what she brought to the role of "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch; on "Carol's" look
Florence Henderson on memorable episodes of The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on shooting The Brady Bunch in Hawaii and King's Island
Florence Henderson on shooting The Brady Bunch at the Grand Canyon
Florence Henderson on the song and dance numbers on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on her own children appearing on The Brady Bunch and how they dealt with having a famous TV mom
Florence Henderson on her favorite episodes of The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on the end of The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on not feeling typecast as "Carol Brady" after the conclusion of The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on a possible spin-off of The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on teaching morality on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on child stars on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on her Brady Bunch co-star Robert Reed
Florence Henderson on guest stars and production of The Brady Bunch on the Paramount lot
Florence Henderson on working with child actors on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on the cancellation of The Brady Bunch and the reunion specials

Brady Girls Get Married, The

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Florence Henderson on The Brady Girls Get Married and The Brady Brides

Bradys, The

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Florence Henderson on the series The Bradys

Coke Time

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Florence Henderson on making a guest appearance on Coke Time with Eddie Fisher, while on Broadway in "Fanny"

Day by Day

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Florence Henderson on spoofing "Carol Brady" on Day by Day

Dean Martin Show, The

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Dean Martin Show

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Florence Henderson on singing in the off-camera chorus on The Ed Sullivan Show
Florence Henderson on her second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (with John Raitt)

Ellen

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Florence Henderson on appearing on Ellen

Hart to Hart

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Florence Henderson on her appearance on Hart to Hart

Hollywood Squares, The

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Florence Henderson on her appearances on Hollywood Squares

Jackie Gleason Show, The

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Jackie Gleason Show

Jonathan Winters Show, The (1956-57)

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Jonathan Winters Show

Kelly's Kids

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Florence Henderson on a possible spin-off of The Brady Bunch

Love Boat, The

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Love Boat

Muppet Show, The

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Florence Henderson on one of the highlights of her career: being on The Muppet Show

Murder, She Wrote

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Florence Henderson on her appearances on Murder, She Wrote

Password

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Florence Henderson on her appearances on Password and going into labor on the show

Police Squad!

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Florence Henderson on her appearance on Police Squad!

Rosie O'Donnell Show, The

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Rosie O'Donnell Show

Tex and Jinx Show, The

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Tex and Jinx Show

Today

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Florence Henderson on being a "Today Girl" on Today
Florence Henderson on working with host Dave Garroway on Today
Florence Henderson on working with NBC's Pat Weaver 
Florence Henderson on the hosts during her run as a "Today Girl" on Today
Florence Henderson on working on Today when Charles Van Doren was a correspondent
Florence Henderson on working on Later Today
Florence Henderson on co-hosting Later Today, which airs immediately after Today

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

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Florence Henderson on working with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Tonight Starring Jack Paar aka The Jack Paar Show

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Florence Henderson on her first appearances on The Tonight Show aka The Jack Paar Show
Florence Henderson on becoming a regular on Jack Paar's Tonight Show
Florence Henderson on Jack Paar walking off The Tonight Show
Florence Henderson on becoming the first female guest host on The T onight Show
Florence Henderson on working with Hugh Downs on Jack Paar's Tonight Show
Florence Henderson on serving as guest host on The T onight Show

United States Steel Hour, The

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The U.S. Steel Hour in 1957
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Florence Henderson on the development of "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on "Carol Brady" and the concept of The Brady Bunch

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Florence Henderson on her mentors

Diversity in Television

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Florence Henderson on working during her pregnancies

Historic Events and Social Change

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Florence Henderson on working during her pregnancies
Florence Henderson on her role in Just Another Kid: an AIDS Story

Industry Crossroads

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Florence Henderson on working on Today when Charles Van Doren was a correspondent

Pivotal Career Moments

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Florence Henderson on her mentors

Pop Culture

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Florence Henderson on the development of "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on "Carol Brady" and the concept of The Brady Bunch

Quiz Show Scandals

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Florence Henderson on working on Today when Charles Van Doren was a correspondent

Television Industry

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Florence Henderson on working on Today when Charles Van Doren was a correspondent

Women

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Florence Henderson on working during her pregnancies
Professions

Actress

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Florence Henderson on deciding to become an actress
Florence Henderson on advice to young actors
Florence Henderson on making scenes believable

Performers

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Florence Henderson on deciding to become an actress
Florence Henderson on advice to young actors
Florence Henderson on making scenes believable
Genres

Comedy Series

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Florence Henderson on how she got cast as "Carol Brady" on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on production and the cast and creator of The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on working with the kids, memorable episodes, and the end of The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on her co-stars, the spin-offs and reunion specials of The Brady Bunch

Commercials

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Florence Henderson on appearing in live television commercials
Florence Henderson on her commercials for Wesson Oil
Florence Henderson on the famous Wesson oil jingle

Game Shows

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Florence Henderson on her game show appearances and the popularity of game shows

Late Night

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Florence Henderson on becoming a regular guest and a guest host on The Tonight Show aka The Jack Paar Show

Talk Shows

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Florence Henderson on being a "Today Girl" on Today
Florence Henderson on becoming a regular guest and a guest host on The Tonight Show aka The Jack Paar Show
People

Desi Arnaz, Jr.

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Florence Henderson on guest stars on The Brady Bunch - Desi Arnaz, Jr.

George Burns

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Florence Henderson on working with George Burns and the talent he and Bob Hope had

Johnny Carson

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Florence Henderson on working with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Imogene Coca

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Florence Henderson on guest stars on The Brady Bunch - Imogene Coca

Fred de Cordova

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Florence Henderson on working with director/producer Fred De Cordova when she guest hosted The T onight Show

Ann B. Davis

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Florence Henderson on working with Ann B. Davis ("Alice") on The Brady Bunch  

Ellen DeGeneres

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Florence Henderson on appearing on Ellen

Charles Van Doren

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Florence Henderson on working on Today when Charles Van Doren was a correspondent

Hugh Downs

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Florence Henderson on working with Hugh Downs on Jack Paar's Tonight Show

Greg Garrison

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Florence Henderson on working with Greg Garrison and Kate Smith on The Dean Martin Show

Dave Garroway

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Florence Henderson on working with host Dave Garroway on Today

Jackie Gleason

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Jackie Gleason Show

Bill Hayes

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Florence Henderson on her act with Bill Hayes, "The Singing Sweethearts" and her appearances on The Tonight Show

Bob Hope

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Florence Henderson on going to Australia with Bob Hope for his 75th birthday

Oscar Hammerstein II

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Florence Henderson on meeting Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein and getting the role of "Laurie" in "Oklahoma!"

Christopher Knight

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Florence Henderson on working with child actors on The Brady Bunch - Christopher Knight

Angela Lansbury

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Florence Henderson on her appearances on Murder, She Wrote

Shari Lewis

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Florence Henderson on co-authoring a book with children's show creator Shari Lewis

Joshua Logan

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Florence Henderson on auditioning for theater director/writer Joshua Logan
Florence Henderson on working with theater director Joshua Logan

Mike Lookinland

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Florence Henderson on working with child actors on The Brady Bunch - Mike Lookinland

Mary Martin

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Florence Henderson on meeting Mary Martin

Dean Martin

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Dean Martin Show

Maureen McCormick

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Florence Henderson on working with child actors on The Brady Bunch - Maureen McCormick

Ricardo Montalban

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Florence Henderson on starring in "The King and I" with Ricardo Montalban

Eddie Murphy

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Florence Henderson on introducing Eve Plumb to Eddie Murphy

Rosie O'Donnell

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Rosie O'Donnell Show

Susan Olsen

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Florence Henderson on working with child actors on The Brady Bunch - Susan Olsen

Jack Paar

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Florence Henderson on working with Jack Paar

Eve Plumb

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Florence Henderson on working with child actors on The Brady Bunch - Eve Plumb

Robert Reed

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Florence Henderson on Robert Reed not getting along with show creator Sherwood Schwartz and director John Rich on The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson on being peacemaker between Robert Reed and The Brady Bunch show creator Sherwood Schwartz 
Florence Henderson on her Brady Bunch co-star Robert Reed
Florence Henderson on Robert Reed's death (from AIDS)

John Rich

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Florence Henderson on working with The Brady Bunch director John Rich

Richard Rodgers

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Florence Henderson on meeting Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein and getting the role of "Laurie" in "Oklahoma!"

Sherwood Schwartz

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Florence Henderson on The Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz
Florence Henderson on Sherwood Schwartz's involvement with daily operations on The Brady Bunch creator
Florence Henderson on being peacemaker between Robert Reed and The Brady Bunch show creator Sherwood Schwartz 

Kate Smith

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Florence Henderson on working with Greg Garrison and Kate Smith on The Dean Martin Show

Bob Stewart

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Florence Henderson on game show creator Bob Stewart

Ed Sullivan

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Florence Henderson on singing in the off-camera chorus on The Ed Sullivan Show

Robert Wagner

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Florence Henderson on her appearance on Hart to Hart

Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver

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Florence Henderson on working with NBC's Pat Weaver 

Barry Williams

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Florence Henderson on working with child actors on The Brady Bunch - Barry Williams - and her "date" with him

Jonathan Winters

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Florence Henderson on appearing on The Jonathan Winters Show

Jeff Zucker

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Florence Henderson on co-hosting Later Today, which airs immediately after Today

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