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Florence Henderson, 'Brady Bunch' Mom, Dies At 82

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THEME FROM 'THE BRADY BUNCH'")

THE BRADY BUNCH: (Singing) Here's the story of a lovely lady who was bringing three very lovely girls.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That'll be stuck in your head all day.

We have the story of the actress who played the lovely lady described in "The Brady Bunch" theme. Florence Henderson died last night in Los Angeles at the age of 82. She was most famous for her role as an upbeat mom who was bringing up three very lovely girls and then married into a blended family. Carol Brady talked over family problems with her husband Mike, like the time the eldest son, Greg, was saving up for a car.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BRADY BUNCH")

ROBERT REED: (As Mike Brady) Really, he's a pretty good driver.

FLORENCE HENDERSON: (As Carol Brady) I know, but why can't you drive your car or my car?

REED: (As Mike Brady) Well, in the long run, what difference does it make if it's your car or my car, his car? You got to be logical with him.

HENDERSON: (As Carol Brady) I don't have to be logical - I'm a mother.

(LAUGHTER)

INSKEEP: Although Florence Henderson told the Archive of American Television that she tried to be more than a mom.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HENDERSON: I would never wear an apron. They tried to make me wear an apron. I wanted to wear sexy nightgowns so that people could actually see - 'cause we were the first couple to sleep in the same bed on television - and, you know, I wanted to make her as human as possible.

INSKEEP: In real life, Florence Henderson did not share Carol Brady's perky parenting techniques, as she's told Peter Sagal on NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me in 2014.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

HENDERSON: I have four children, and my youngest son, when we started, was, like - oh, gosh - 2 or a little less. And sometimes, my kids would say to me, how come you don't scream at those kids...

(LAUGHTER)

HENDERSON: ...On television like you do us?

PETER SAGAL, BYLINE: And what did you say?

HENDERSON: I said - because they're not my real kids and you are. And I want you to turn out to be wonderful human beings, and they have. I have four of the most incredible children. And I have five grandchildren.

INSKEEP: Florence Henderson was also a Broadway star and a groundbreaking comedian. She was the first woman to guest host "The Tonight Show" - also turned up on "Dancing With The Stars." By the time she died at the age of 82, she'd performed a remarkable feat. She remained a household name, someone Americans felt they knew and liked, even though most Americans were not even born when "The Brady Bunch" was cancelled in 1974.

(SOUNDBITE OF LUDOVICO EINAUDI'S "NUMBERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.