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Beloved TV mom and LGBTI ally Florence Henderson has died

Beloved TV mom and LGBTI ally Florence Henderson has died

Florence Henderson was a regular on NBC's The Today Show before landing The Brady Bunch.

Florence Henderson, one of the most beloved television moms in history, died on Thanksgiving at the age of 82 of heart failure.

Henderson had been seen just last month at a taping of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars in support of Maureen McCormick who played her daughter on the classic sitcom The Brady Bunch.

Henderson had been a successful Broadway actress through much of the 1950 and 1960s when she was cast in 1969 on The Brady Bunch which ran for five years and remained forever popular in reruns.

She famously played the mother of six children on the sitcom opposite the late Robert Reed who played the father.

Reed was gay and early in the show’s run, Henderson put her foot down with a director who tried to mistreat the actor because of his sexuality.

None of the fictional Brady kids gave an indication that they might be gay during the show’s original run from 1969-74 or its subsequent incarnations as The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, the sitcom The Brady Brides and the drama The Bradys.

‘At the time that we actually did the show,. they wouldn’t have addressed that,’ Henderson told Gay Star News in 2014.

‘But if the show were on today, I think it would definitely be addressed. After all, their father was gay.’

Henderson, a longtime staunch supporter of the LGBTI community, thought a show like The Brady Bunch could have helped families had it included a positive gay storyline.

‘I think so many young people have such a difficult time,’ she said. ‘Most of the gay people I know – and I have so many gay and lesbian friends – so many tell me they were disowned and how tough it was for them growing up.

‘And all of them, they all knew they were gay from the time they were 5 or 6 years old. The kids that have no place to go and the parents don’t get it, don’t understand and stop loving them. How can you do that to a child?’

Henderson did many benefits for the LGBT community over the years. ‘When AIDS first started, I was one of the first along with Debbie Reynolds to do a benefit – many, many years ago at The Hollywood Bowl. It was not easy to get people.

‘I just think I love people and have great compassion for human beings. Who are we to judge anyone. It always came natural for me to love people.’