Famous actress Florence Henderson's children had to share her attention with her on-screen kids while she acted in "The Brady Bunch." She had two daughters who look nothing alike — meet them.
Florence Henderson was a very talented entertainer who brought joy into many lives simply by being who she was. She could act as well as sing, and she was very much loved by her fans, the people she worked with, and above all, her children.
Her maternal instincts were one of the things that made her perfect for the role of Carol Brady, the Brady Bunch matriarch. By the time she was cast on the original show, which aired from 1969 to 1974, Florence was already a mother of four, with her youngest still just a baby.
Of her four kids, two are boys, Joseph and Robert, while the other two are girls who look absolutely nothing alike. Their names are Barbara and Elizabeth.
All of Florence's kids had a great relationship with her; however, when she was filming "The Brady Bunch," they had to share her with another bunch of kids — her on-screen ones.
Did it affect her relationship with her kids? A bit. To really understand its impact on them, let's get acquainted with her daughters, one of whom cried because she was not recognized as Florence's child.
THEIR ACTING CAREER
Florence Henderson was very proud to be a mother. She was always very outspoken about how proud she was of her kids and grandkids. Her pride was not misplaced: her two boys chose to live quiet lives, but her daughters dabbled in acting, one more than the other.
Elizabeth appeared as an actress in the 1992 movie "Somebody's Daughter," but that was mostly it. Her sister Barbara had more luck, however, and appeared on "The Brady Bunch" about three different times, and in 1975, she landed a role on "Police Woman."
Barbara is also known for "9 to 5" (1980) and "...and Your Name Is Jonah" (1979). She started to work behind the screen as a producer in 1995.
ONE OF THE GIRLS CRIED ABOUT IT
Florence was a fundamentally happy woman who spread her light to every soul she came in contact with. Now imagine having to work side by side with her for years on a show that was loved by thousands.
Her colleagues adored her, and her on-screen children loved her like a mother. The love was so deep that when they aged and welcomed kids of their own, the children referred to her as "grandmother."
All that love was born because of all the time Florence put in as an actress, which meant that she was often separated from her real kids. Finally, it got to the point that the talented actresses' children actually started to feel like they were sharing their mother.
Susan Olsen, who played the youngest daughter Cindy on "The Brady Bunch," was one of those who considered Florence a second mom. Olsen was well aware of what Florence spending more time with them meant for her real kids.
She was friends with Elizabeth during the series, and once, while they were both enjoying Florence's company, a man stopped them and referred to Olsen as her "real daughter."
The statement triggered Elizabeth's tears as it seemed everyone thought the same thing. That was not the only time; in an old CBS interview, Florence revealed that whenever she would take her kids for an outing, they would always get interrupted by fans who would promptly brush her kids aside.
Occasions like that often made the children sad. Elizabeth even once told her mother to tell her fans they were her real kids in a bid to correct their misgivings.
Indeed there is all the possibility that the fans would have treated her on-screen kids, whom they frequently saw her with, with more respect.
Barbara took it better. She was 12 when it all started, and even though it was sometimes hard for her adolescent self to cope with, she knew that it was one of the issues with having a famous mother.
FLORENCE DID IT UNWITTINGLY
Florence had great maternal instincts, so great that she did not even have to try to be a mother; it was simply who she was.
Her death shocked everyone, especially her family, who expected her to bounce back after falling ill days before her end.
Christopher Knight, who portrayed the middle son of Florence and her on-screen husband Mike Brady, has been very vocal about his relationship with Florence.
Even though she was not his birth mother, Knight valued Florence's opinion, and earning her respect was something he actively pursued. She also guided him unwittingly by being a good role model through which he learned a lot.
Knight had issues with his actual mom, and Florence was simply a better alternative for him. Many of the other costars feel the same way about Florence, which is why her death hit all of them hard.
Florence touched many lives with her talents and nature. The entertainer, who began her career as an ingénue soprano in stage musicals in the 1950s, passed away in 2016 at the age of 82.
Her death was confirmed by her publicist David Brokaw who said that she breathed her last at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. According to her family, the cause of death was heart failure.
Her death shocked everyone, especially her family, who expected her to bounce back after falling ill days before her demise.
The announcement of the sad news triggered an outpouring of grief from all the lives she touched, and among those voices were those of her TV kids and real kids. Hollywood did indeed lose a gem.