Gala Banquet Speaker

Florence Henderson has prospered as one of the most beloved American entertainers of the last six decades.  Long before she became a television icon as Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch, Florence’s talent, joy in performing and love for people were matched with an ethic of hard work and a curiosity to explore new dimensions–all dating back to the time when she literally sang for her supper at age six in the height of the Depression in Indiana.

Soon after arriving in New York at seventeen, where she was accepted at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Florence became a protégé of the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein and was cast for the last national tour of Oklahoma! in the lead role of Laurey. Other roles soon followed in Fanny, The Sound of Music, The Girl Who Came to Supper (Noel Coward’s last play), South Pacific, and The King and I.

On television, Florence spent one year as an anchor on the Today Show alongside Dave Garroway.  She was also a mainstay on Ed Sullivan, the Bell Television Hour, Dean Martin and Jack Paar and Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show (becoming the first woman to guest host).  But she is perhaps best known for mega-popular The Brady Bunch that has remarkably not left the airwaves in syndication since it ceased production in 1974 aired in over 122 countries.

Since then, Florence Henderson continued to star in major theatrical productions, headline in Las Vegas and perform live at major venues around the country, most recently in her autobiographical one-woman show All the Lives of Me. She hosted Country Kitchen on The Nashville Network for nine years, and her talk show, The Florence Henderson Show, is still broadcast on RLTV on DirecTV.  She is also the national spokesperson for Bausch & Lomb’s Crystalens.

Florence was inducted into the Smithsonian Institute’s first permanent Entertainment History Exhibit as one of the greatest pop cultural icons of all time in November 2008 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.  Her memoir, Life Is Not a Stage, was released by Center Street/Hachette Book Group in September, 2011.