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Florence Henderson ‘Felt Strange’ About Returning For ‘A Very Brady Christmas’

Florence Henderson ‘Felt Strange’ About Returning For ‘A Very Brady Christmas’

Florence Henderson became iconic by playing Carol Brady in The Brady Brunch, but when it came time to revisit her role for A Very Brady Christmas, she felt a bit “strange.”

Henderson began starring as the classic TV matriarch in 1969. While the original series wrapped up five years later, she immediately jumped back into character several times, starting with The Brady Bunch Variety Hour in 1976. Henderson continued as Mrs. Brady for several more years while starring in the spinoffs The Brady Girls Get Married and The Brady Brides.

After Brady Brides suffered horrible ratings, The Brady Bunch franchise seemed to be over. But in 1988, creator Sherwood Schwartz decided to give the family another try in A Very Brady Christmas.

The made-for-TV movie brought all the original actors back to the screen, aside from Cindy’s Susan Olsen. In the story, all of the kids are grown, and a few have families of their own. Using money intended for a lavish vacation, Carol and Mike pay for everyone to fly to their house for the holiday, and chaos ensues.

‘A Very Brady Christmas’ Was Florence Henderson’s Last Successful Hurrah as Carol

A Very Brady Christmas ended up being a hit. But for Henderson and Mike’s Robert Reed, returning to the story was somewhat jarring.

“It felt strange to go back to the roles,” she once told the San Bernadino County Sun, per MeTV. “Robert and I were very nervous trying to get back into those characters. The kids are all grown That’s going to be quite a shock to all those kids who watch the reruns.

“The house has been redecorated. I’m into real estate now. Mike’s still an architect,” she continued. “One son’s a doctor, one’s a race car driver, one works in an office. One girl’s married, one’s married with a career, and the youngest is in college. Plus, there are three grandchildren. Can you believe that?” 

Fans found the story very easy to believe. In fact, they believed and enjoyed it so much that A Very Brady Christmas ended the year as the second highest-rated TV movie.

Because of the massive response, Schwartz created another spinoff called The Bradys, which premiered in 1990. However, people weren’t as impressed with the series. It ended after only six episodes, and Florence Henderson finally retired the character of Carol Brady—well, almost.

In 2014, the actress gave the “lovely lady” a final encore in one episode of Instant Mom.