Life onstage was heartbreaking for a young Florence Henderson
"There are a lot of heartbreaking things about show business," Florence Henderson recalled in a WOMI-FM broadcast in 1964. By then, she was already a 12-year veteran of the industry, having debuted on Broadway in the 1952 musical Wish You Were Here.
Henderson revealed to the Owensboro, Kentucky Messenger-Inquirer that she hit the jackpot with her first attempt at a Broadway role. She earned the part after leaving the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
"It was a two-year course, but after the first year, I felt if I went home I might never come back, so I went to an open audition for Wish You Were Here. I just walked in one day. All the kids at school were going and they thought maybe I'd be right for the show. And so I walked in and I was hired. That was my first job and I've never stopped working since."
Despite her good fortune so early in her career, Henderson found that not everything would be as rewarding as her first big role. Her first disappointment came when The Girl Who Came to Supper closed early on Broadway.
"About the only way I can describe doing a new Broadway show is like having a baby. You give it so much love and so much care and you just devote so much of your energy and time and emotions to the show, and if it is not a big hit, then a little bit of you kind of dies. So I felt badly that The Girl Who Came to Supper did not last longer than it did because it was a beautiful show. But, that's show business and there are a lot of heartbreaking things about it. I am sure there will be others."
Her luck would change yet again just a few years later when Henderson was cast as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, putting her face in every living room in America. While the heartbreak of defeat is valid and painful, hopefully, the Brady success soothed some of the aches.
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