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Florence Henderson – The Brady Bunch matriarch – dies aged 82

Gemma Strong

Florence Henderson, known to millions of TV viewers for her role as matriarch Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch, has passed away at the age of 82. The star died on Thursday at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in LA, one day after being admitted to hospital, her representative has confirmed.

First shown in 1969, The Brady Bunch followed two single parents with children who married to make a 'blended' family. It clearly resonated with audiences, and returned to TV in various forms, including The Brady Bunch Hour in 1977, The Brady Brides in 1981 and The Bradys in 1990. "It represents what people always wanted: a loving family," Florence said in 1999. "It's such a gentle, innocent, sweet show, and I guess it proved there's always an audience for that."

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Florence Henderson - Brady Bunch matriarch - dies aged 82VIEW GALLERY

Florence Henderson - best known as Carol Brady - has passed away at the age of 82

The Brady Bunch premiered in 1969; Florence's Carol was a single mother raising three daughters when she met Mike Brady, played by Robert Reed, a single father raising three boys. The two families became The Brady Bunch, joined by a quirky housekeeper, played by Ann B. Davis.

"We had to have security guards with us. Fans were hanging on our doors. We couldn't go out by ourselves. We were like the Beatles!" former Broadway star Florence said of the attention the cast received.

Florence was born in 1934 in southern Indiana, and started her career in theatre before turning to television. She landed the female lead role in a tour of Oklahoma! which eventually took her to Broadway, and played Maria in The Sound of Music, and Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.

Brady Bunch actress Florence Henderson - Carol Brady - dies aged 82VIEW GALLERY

The Brady Bunch premiered in 1969 and returned to TV in various forms over the years

But her career nearly ended in 1965 when she suddenly lost her hearing while appearing in The King and I in LA. She was diagnosed with a hereditary condition called osteosclerosis and underwent corrective surgery in both her ears.

Patricia Arquette and Boy George are among those who have marked her passing on Twitter, with the British musician saying that he "grew up with the Brady Bunch". 

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