Her publicist told the Associated Press (via Hollywood Reporter) that Henderson died from heart failure Thanksgiving night (Nov. 24, 2016), and was surrounded by family and friends.
Henderson began her career on the Broadway stage and playing small roles on TV, but landed the role of Carol Brady in 1969, playing a woman with three girls who marries a man with three boys, as they all live hilariously and harmoniously under one house.
She initially didn’t want to audition for the show, which ran until 1974. “I said, ‘I don’t want to do a series. I live in New York,’ ” Henderson said during a 1999 interview with the Archive of American Television.
But her agent insisted and she met with the producers and did a screen test on the Paramount lot. “We’re on the Star Trek set,” Henderson recalledd. “They made me up in the Star Trek dressing room. Bill Shatner was in there. Not overly friendly, I might add, which I have razzed him about many times over the years. They made me up. I went back and did a screen test. Not with Robert Reed, with another actor. They thanked me very much. I got on my plane to Houston that night.” She found out the next day she was cast for the pilot, and the rest is history.
The huge success of the show, both in prime time and syndication, spawned several TV movies and specials, and was eventually spoofed with a big-screen reboot in 1995, starring Shelley Long and Gary Cole.
In recent years, Henderson’s credits included Ally McBeal, The King of Queens, 30 Rock, and hosted several shows for Retirement Living TV. She also competed on Dancing With the Stars in 2010.
Henderson married Ira Bernstein, a theatrical producer, in 1956, and they had four children. The couple divorced in 1985. She married John Kappas, a hypnotherapist and psychologist in 1987, and they remained together until his death in 2002.
RIP, Carol Brady.