On the classic TV sitcom The Brady Bunch, the show’s six siblings dealt with such things as getting caught with cigarettes, breaking their mom’s favorite vase, and getting hit in the nose with a football.
Sometimes Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy even dealt with matters of the heart.
But none of them 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,’ Florence Henderson, who played mom Carol Brady on all the shows, tells Gay Star News.
She added: ‘But if the show were on today, I think it would definitely be addressed. After all, their father was gay.’
Not the character of Mike Brady, of course, but the late Robert Reed, the actor who played him.
Reed, who died in 1992, was not out publicly but Henderson always knew he was gay and early in the show’s run defended him to a director who she perceived to be a homophobic bully.
Henderson, a longtime staunch supporter of the LGBTI community, thinks 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 says. ‘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 stand and stop loving them. How can you do that to a child?’
Henderson, who at 80 still very much looks like 1970s Carol Brady, participated in the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 45th anniversary gala on Saturday (8 November).
‘I do so many benefits for the LGBT community – always have,’ she says. ‘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.’