5 Reasons Florence Henderson Was a Boomer Inspiration
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Florence Henderson, best known for her role as Carol Brady on the classic TV sitcom The Brady Bunch, passed away on November 24, 2016, from heart failure at age 82.
While most fans remember her fondly as “America’s Mom,” there was so much more to Henderson’s life and career. From being a trailblazer for women as the first female guest host of The Tonight Show to her refusal to allow age define her and her resiliency in the face of setbacks, Henderson exemplified the steadfast, energetic, adaptable boomer spirit—and we’ve compiled five ways she did it.
1. Her resiliency
Like so many boomers, Henderson grew up during the Great Depression. From an early age her mother taught her to sing, eventually leading to performances around her hometown of Dale, Indiana.
2. She was a trailblazer
When late night legend David Letterman retired, much of his replacement talk surrounded putting a female host behind the desk as his successor. Of course that didn’t happen, and while women are still woefully underrepresented on the late night landscape, Florence Henderson not only broke through that glass ceiling, but she even hosted the greatest late night show of all—before Johnny Carson.
3. She never let age define her
Back in 2010, while in her mid 70s—an age when other performers are playing grandma/grandpa roles—Henderson joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars, wowing viewers with her moves while earning the respect of a new generation of fans. A few years prior, at age 68, Henderson made a very memorable appearance on the improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, sharing passionate kisses with her much-younger co-stars Ryan Styles and Colin Mochrie.
4. Her versatility
We all know that, as a Broadway star, she could sing and dance, and that, as Carol Brady, she could bring the laughs, but Henderson had so much more to offer.
5. Her legacy
Of course, one can’t speak of Florence Henderson’s legacy without mention of her work as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, her most famous role and the one that made her one of the most recognizable pop culture figures of a generation.
But with such a varied body of work, a trailblazing career and an energy and passion to perform that never slowed down with age, Henderson left an indelible legacy on stage and screen that brought joy to multiple generations of fans. And, as boomers move into the later stages of life and consider their own legacies, who wouldn’t want to know that they left smiles on people’s faces long after they’re gone?