Florence Agnes Henderson is an American actress and singer, best known for playing the role of Carol Brady in the television program The Brady Bunch, which ran from 1969 to 1974. As of 2010, she hosts the American TV talk show The Florence Henderson Show.
Henderson, the youngest of ten children, was born in Arkansas City, a small town in the deep south of Kansas. Henderson was the daughter of Elizabeth, a homemaker, and Joseph Henderson, a tobacco sharecropper. Raised a Roman Catholic, she graduated from St. Francis Academy in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1951; shortly thereafter, she went to New York City, enrolling in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She is an Alumna Initiate of the Alpha Chi chapter of Delta Zeta Sorority.
Henderson started her career on the stage, performing in musicals, such as the touring production of Oklahoma! and South Pacific at Lincoln Center. She debuted on Broadway in the musical Wish You Were Here in 1952 and later starred on Broadway in the long-running 1954 musical, Fanny in which she originated the title role. Henderson also appeared on Broadway in The Girl Who Came to Supper. In 1962, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago Theatre, and the same year became the first woman to guest host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She also joined the ranks of what was then called “The Today Girl” on NBC’s long running morning show, doing weather and light news, a position also once held by Barbara Walters.
Her most widely seen role was as Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch which aired on ABC from 1969 until 1974. Shirley Jones had previously turned down the role. Primarily owing to her role in The Brady Bunch, Henderson was ranked by TV Land and Entertainment Weekly as one of the 100 Greatest TV Icons.