Renowned actress and Indy 500 staple Florence Henderson has died at the age of 82. Best known for portraying the character of Carol Brady on the television show “The Brady Bunch,” the Indiana native also became an integral part of pre-race festivities at the Indianapolis 500.
The Broadway star put her singing talents to use for decades at Indianapolis Motor Speedway while performing “God Bless America” or “America the Beautiful” in front of hundreds of thousands of fans at the event and for millions more at home.
Henderson was named Grand Marshal for the 100th running of the Indy 500 in May, and was remembered with great fondness by IMS owner Mari Hulman George.
“In a lifetime around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there are few friendships as special as the friendship that I have had with Florence Henderson,” she said. “She was a wonderful lady who cared deeply for the traditions that have made the Indianapolis 500 so special and a highlight for me each year is spending time with Florence on Race weekends! Our family loved her dearly and she will always be considered a member of our family.”
IMS President Doug Boles also shared his condolences.
“Florence Henderson had an amazing impact on generations of Americans through her platform as an actress and an even more profound impact on Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans through her passion for and contribution to those special moments leading up the command to start engines at the Indianapolis 500,” he said. “Our fans looked forward to seeing her on Race Day each year and her pre-race involvement became one of the expected annual traditions that makes the Indianapolis 500 so powerful.
“This past year, we were pleased to have honored her as the Grand Marshall for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. More importantly, Florence Henderson was a treasured friend of the Hulman-George family for many years and the bond between them was as strong as family. We thank her for her friendship and love for our sport and her friends and family will be in our prayers. She was a lovely lady and she will be missed.”