Florence Henderson (Carol Brady)
From Wikipedia: 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 (888 performances) in which she originated the title role and whose opening night cast also included Gary Wright who played her son later in the show’s run and who is perhaps best known for his 1976 top ten hit “Dream Weaver”. Henderson also appeared on Broadway in The Girl Who Came to Supper (1963). 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. Talented at skit comedy as well as song and dance, she was ideal for the Dean Martin Variety Show, on which she was a frequent guest.
Her most widely seen role was as Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch which was produced from 1969 until 1974, a role that Shirley Jones had turned down. A worldwide success, it continues to be screened in many countries through syndication. 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. Henderson’s ability to effortlessly transmit warmth and affection was an essential element to the long enduring success of the Brady Bunch. Henderson was a frequent panelist on the original version of the television game show Hollywood Squares and made occasional appearances on The $25,000 Pyramid.
Henderson was also the spokeswoman for Wesson cooking oil, from 1976 to 1996. During that time, she hosted a cooking show on TNN called Country Kitchen, and also did ads for Prange’s, a former Wisconsin department store chain. Henderson co-hosted the talk show Later Today on NBC (1999-2000) with co-hosts Jodi Applegate and Asha Blake. Today, she is the spokeswoman for Polident denture cleanser (although she does not wear dentures herself). In 2003, Henderson seemed to poke fun at her wholesome image by appearing in a Pepsi Twist television commercial with Ozzy Osbourne.
Henderson regularly tours as a singer on the condominium circuit with other performers such as magician/comedian Jamie Porter. Henderson has also appeared with her TV children whenever the opportunity comes about. For instance, she appeared on the reality-television series My Fair Brady starring Christopher Knight. She is also in the sixth season of VH1′s Surreal Life.
In most years since the mid-1990s, the song “God Bless America” has been performed by Henderson at the Indianapolis 500 accommpanied by the Purdue All-American Marching Band. Henderson is a friend of the Hulman-George family, the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Her performance is followed by “The Star-Spangled Banner,” performed by a notable artist each year.
She appeared in the “Weird Al” Yankovic video for “Amish Paradise” and co-hosted the daily talk show “Living Live” with former Designing Women star Meshach Taylor on Retirement Living TV. The show was reworked to focus on her and was renamed “The Florence Henderson Show”. In 2002 she made a memorable guest appearance on comedy improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, participating in an on-screen kiss with Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie.