Gay actor Robert Reed, was the inspiration behind Florence Henderson’s Brady Bunch dance on season 11 of Dancing With The Stars in 2010. Henderson, 76-years-old at the time, along with partner Corky Ballas, danced to the television theme song that made Henderson and Reed camp culture icons. Henderson’s scores were her best of that season and she dedicated her dance to Reed, who played Mike Brady, her on screen husband on The Brady Bunch (1969-1974).
The Bradys were quite the All-American family: Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia, revealed a lesbian love affair in her tell-all memoir. McCormick seems to have enjoyed much more than a sisterly relationship with fellow cast member Eve Plumb, who played the less glamorous sister, Jan. Henderson dated Barry Williams, who played her on-screen son Greg, during the show. Williams also dated McCormick for two years during the series.
Henderson appeared in films, on Broadway, and hosted several long-running cooking and variety shows. Her theatre career began in musicals, beginning in a touring production of Oklahoma! and her Broadway debut was in 1952, in Wish You Were Here where she sang in an onstage swimming pool. While performing in Oklahoma!, she met her BFF Shirley Jones, who played the other iconic 1970s television mom on The Partridge Family. Henderson continued to work doing theatre up until the late 1960s.
She was a regular guest on variety and talk shows and appeared frequently on game shows from the late 1950s through the late 1970s.
In 1962, she became the first woman to guest host The Tonight Show during the period after Jack Paar left as the show’s host, and before Johnny Carson began his 30-year run. She also what was then called ”The Today Girl” on NBC’s long-running The Today Show, doing weather and fluff news. In 2015, sexual harasser Matt Lauer told her: ”There are just some things we can’t do at 81. Henderson replied: ”I didn’t get that memo”.
Henderson was taken by heart failure in November 2016.