“The biggest life lessons I have learned came from Florence, and that was, being able to find joy like in a big way,” McCormick, 62, recently told Closer Weekly. “I mean, I spent a lot of time with her before she passed away. And I truly believe she taught me so much about finding joy and I feel such joy again in my life. You know, I’ve gone through so many different things in my life… pretty amazing.”
The former child star, who played Marcia Brady in the series, revealed another lesson she learned from Henderson.
“Be around positive, good people that lift you up, that doesn’t tear you down, but just want to nurture you and you want to nurture them and you all work together,” McCormick explained. “You know, I think that’s really important.”
“Inclusion for everyone to me is a huge life lesson,” she continued. “And one thing my father always told me was to find the love and to look for love in each and every human being. And I think that’s really important.”
Back in 2017, McCormick was one of 19 celebrities who participated in The American Heart Association’s (AHA) Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection fashion show, which was presented by Macy’s at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom.
The annual show was created to raise awareness of heart disease among women. According to AHA, cardiovascular diseases cause one in three deaths among women each year — more than all cancers combined.
Good heart health was also an important cause to Henderson who participated in the event in 2016. As Carol Brady, the Hollywood veteran could solve any problem that arose in the Brady household, but in real life, she battled heart problems from a very young age — and they weren’t as simple to resolve.
“Florence had a heart disease issue from the time that she was a child,” McCormick told Fox News back in 2017. “She had a heart murmur and about a decade ago, she had something really frightening happened to her. She went into Cedars-Sinai in LA and they discovered a mitral valve leakage. And fortunately, they were able to revive her and repair her valve, instead of replacing it.”
Just three days before her death, Henderson attended a taping of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” to cheer on McCormick, who was participating in the dance competition series.
“[Florence was] a person who wanted to spread love and laughter,” said McCormick on her friend. “She loved people, she loved life. She’s born on Valentine’s Day, how perfect, right? [She was] just a great woman. Someone I really admired.”
Her former castmates also had a special bond with their TV mother right up to the end.
“One thing [fans] may not know is recently, I got to ride in Mike Lookinland’s (Bobby) new Tesla, which was really, really cool. He loves cars, he loves driving and he actually drove across the country to be at Florence’s celebration,” said McCormick. “And he came across the country in his Tesla that he was on the waiting list for.”
McCormick was also grateful to have Henderson cheer her on in what she described as one of the toughest things she’s ever had to do in her life.
“I’ve always admired people that can dance and move their bodies,” said McCormick on her recent involvement with “Dancing with the Stars.” “It’s something I’ve always thought, ‘Oh, if only I can do that, wouldn’t that be great?’ But it’s something I always thought I could not do. I was afraid to do it in public because I was afraid to look bad doing it. I was just afraid to be that vulnerable.”
“I don’t know, dancing always made me feel very vulnerable, so I would always stop if I was in a club with friends — just because I was so insecure about it,” added McCormick. “It was definitely a very interesting way to deal with fear in front of the world.”
While McCormick was ultimately eliminated from the show, fans still continue to show their admiration for the actress — one die-hard admirer in particular even made that love permanent.
“I would have to say my most unique encounter with a fan, and my husband was there to witness it, was at a place in Colorado,” explained McCormick. “The guy came up to me and I was tattooed on his arm. And … that was insane. And it was actually even really before tattoos were cool, and something that everybody was doing. And I was just shocked!”
That fan may have left McCormick speechless, but she does have a message for women everywhere — one that the ever-doting Henderson would have approved of.
“Just be careful, women,” said McCormick. “This is the number one killer of women. Heart disease. Ask questions, go talk to your doctor, get all the tests and check-ups that we’re supposed to do for cholesterol, and blood pressure, and blood sugar. Exercise a good amount. And eat right. And take care of yourself.”
“Life is short, you know,” she said.