In a year already marked by the death of countless celebrities, 2016 struck again, taking Florence Henderson, who played America's mom, Carol Brady, on the sitcom The Brady Bunch — on Thanksgiving night, no less. Henderson, 82, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering heart failure, her manager, Kayla Pressman, said in a statement. She began her career onstage in the 1950s, starring in Fanny on Broadway and several other classic musicals, including The King & I, South Pacific, Oklahoma, and The Sound of Music. Moving on to television, Henderson read the news and weather — and sang the occasional song — on NBC's Today show.
In 1962, she broke ground in the still-male-dominated late-night television landscape as the first woman to fill in for Jack Paar as the guest host of The Tonight Show. While making a film in Norway in 1969, Henderson was asked to appear in the pilot episode of a new sitcom about a blended family in suburban California, where a widower with three sons marries a widow with three daughters. Although The Brady Bunch only ran from 1969 to 1974, it remains a strong part of American pop culture, thanks to reruns running in syndication since the show's cancellation. Henderson also made a cameo in The Brady Bunch Movie in the 1995, playing Shelley Long's character's mother (she played Carol Brady), and appeared on Dancing With the Stars in 2010 at the age of 76. Celebrities from Joan Lunden to George Takei and Rosie O'Donnell took to Twitter on Thursday night and Friday morning to pay their respects. Her Brady children, Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Barry Williams (Greg), and Susan Olsen (Cindy) also shared heartfelt remembrances.