Brady Bunch mom got crabs in affair with NY mayor

LOS ANGELES, June 25 Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:14pm EDT

LOS ANGELES, June 25 (Reuters) - This would have made an interesting episode of "The Brady Bunch."

Florence Henderson, the actress who played perky mom Carol Brady in the beloved family sitcom, says she once got crabs after a one-night-stand with career politician John Lindsay, who was the mayor of New York City at the time.

Henderson, now 77, recounts in her upcoming memoir that she was cheating on her husband during the 1960s, and gave in to her better judgment when her married and unattractive friend put the moves on her over drinks at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

"I was lonely. I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. So, what did I do? I did it," she writes in "Life is Not a Stage," set for publication in September.

Henderson went home later that night, and awoke to a grisly surprise the next day as she saw "little black things" crawling over her bed and body.

An urgent call to a doctor took care of the problem, known medically as pubic lice, and Lindsay sent her flowers and a note of apology.

"Guess I learned the hard way that crabs do not discriminate but cross over all socioeconomic strata," Henderson writes. "He must have had quite the active life. What a way to put the kibosh on a relationship."

Lindsay, who died in 2000, was was mayor of New York from 1966 to 1973. Before that, he was a U.S. congressman. He launched a brief bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972. His wife of 51 years died in 2004.

Henderson is probably best known for her work on "The Brady Bunch," a comedy about a blended family that ran between 1969 and 1974 and remains popular worldwide.

But the book devotes only a chapter to that part of her life, and she shoots down the oft-told story that she had an off-screen affair with Barry Williams, who played her eldest teen-aged stepson, Greg Brady.

"Barry did have a serious crush on me, which I understood and helped him get past," Henderson writes. "Let us just say that if he had entertained a roll in the hay with me, I would never have done it."

The two, separated in age by 20 years, remain good friends to this day, she adds.

For the most part, the book focuses on Henderson's childhood in an abusive home, her struggles with papal edicts about birth control, her Broadway stardom, and her second marriage to her therapist. Co-written with Joel Brokaw, it will be published by Hachette's Center Street imprint on Sept. 20. (To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog "Fan Fare" online at blogs.reuters.com/fanfare/)