From the PEOPLE Archives: Barry Williams Recalls the Sweet Moment He Asked His TV Mom Florence Henderson Out on a Date
From the PEOPLE archives: The Brady Bunch star opens up about an innocent date with his TV mom
While Barry Williams — and the rest of the world — continue to mourn the sudden death of Florence Henderson, we dug into the PEOPLE archives and found a sweet memory that The Brady Bunch star shared years ago in his book, Growing Up Brady.
In 1970, during the show’s second season, the 15-year-old asked his TV mom, then 36, out on a date.
“When those little things called hormones start kicking in, you get excited by even inanimate objects,” he says. “It wasn’t that I sought to bed her. I just wanted to spend time with her.” The date, at any rate, never went beyond a pleasant restaurant dinner. “It was flattering that she gave me any attention at all,” said Williams.
“He had a crush on me, and he asked me out for a date, which I’ll never forget,” Henderson previously told PEOPLE in 1991. ”He was too young to drive, so his older brother brought him to my hotel, and then I drove us to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where we saw a singer. It was so sweet because Barry made sure we had a good table. After the show, his brother picked him up and took him home. The crush was a very serious thing for him, so I was never condescending. I certainly liked him too, but I wasn’t exactly the Cher of the TV mom set.”
On Thursday, Henderson died at the age of 82 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering heart failure.
The actor, 62, opened up to PEOPLE on Monday about his on-screen mother, whom he considered to be “many things: a mom, a friend, a coworker, an inspiration and a mentor.”
“Florence balanced quite a bit between her television world and her outside professional world and her own family. She definitely had a strong maternal instinct: six kids on The Brady Bunch and four children of her own, which she kind of had to mediate. She made people laugh. If she were watching me do this interview, if I were to get too sentimental or too sad, I’m sure that she would want to poke and give me a timeout and say, ‘Get it together.’ She would tell jokes; she would do off-color jokes,” Williams says.
He adds, “There’s a reason the song starts off ‘The story of a lovely lady.’ That lovely lady was the real deal. She is a light that will shine for a long time. It is a loss for —. I have a very, very close personal one, but even for television, I think many have created a personal relationship with her and that she will be remembered and loved by many for a long, long time to come.”
Reporting by Natalie Stone and Peter Castro