Famed Hollywood legend Florence Henderson, who played the iconic role of family matriarch Carol Brady on the American cinematic staple “The Brady Bunch” (1969-1974), died suddenly of heart failure on Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 24, 2016. Born on February 14, 1934 (Saint Valentine’s Day), Henderson was 82 years old. As described in Deacon Greg Kandra’s November 25 piece on Aleteia, Henderson had a formative Catholic upbringing that guided her throughout her life, from her challenging youth – which included incidents of child abuse – through her later years.
Among other features of Henderson’s Catholic formation, she attended high school at Saint Frances Academy in Owensboro, Kentucky, and became adept at singing in Latin. On October 5, 2011, Henderson sat down for an interview titled “Florence Henderson on Catholicism” for ABC’s “Focus on Faith” with news contributor Father Edward Beck. During the course of the interview, Henderson discussed her memoir Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond. Within the candid interview, in which Henderson admitted her faults and missteps, she discussed her “gift of faith and optimism,” as well as her “tremendous faith” and other allusions to her journey with the Lord. At one point, Henderson even wished Father Beck “Dominus vobiscum,” or “may the Lord be with you.”
Also in Henderson’s later years, she performed on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2010. As one testament to her Catholic faith, when Henderson appeared on the series “The Surreal Life” (2003-2006), she reportedly declined to dress in a nun’s costume for a comedic feature, out of respect for the Catholic Church broadly and those in religious life specifically. Requiescat in pace, Florence Henderson.