Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch” had a lot — three daughters, three stepsons, snazzy clothes and hair — but she didn’t “have it all,” i.e., a family and a career. If it had been up to Florence Henderson, the actress who played her, she would have.
“I fought so hard to have Carol Brady get a job,” Henderson told ABC News in an interview for the special “Best in TV,” which airs Sept. 18.
Henderson feared viewers would think Carol was “spoiled”:
“I said, you know, she’s got Alice … people are going to hate [her]. I worked all my life. And through all pregnancies. … [The network] wouldn’t do it.”
“I mean, I did needle point,” Henderson continued. “I helped Alice prepare food. But I guess they wanted me to be the perfect wife and mother.”
Henderson’s wish never died. After the hit show ended its run, she was asked to participate in reunion specials.
“I said, Not unless you give me a job. And you know what job they gave me? … Real estate,” Henderson said.
“The Brady Bunch” was more progressive when it came to divorce and sex, Henderson said.
“It was the first blended family on television. And we were the first couple to sleep in the same bed, to actually let people know how you get six children,” Henderson said.
Carol’s sexy appearance in bedroom shots drove the point home — and they were no accident — Henderson said.
“That was one thing I got my way on, that I would wear a sexy nightgown, and I’d have makeup on. In reality, I go to bed with baggy pajamas, of course, and no makeup,” Henderson said with a laugh. “But I thought, Yes, let people know that we were a couple that really had sexual chemistry, that we really loved each other.”
Watch more of Henderson’s frank and fascinating interview on “Best in TV” Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 9 p.m. ET.