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Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore

Who can turn the
world on with her smile? One person stands out. A TV
legend and an American icon: Mary Tyler Moore. Mary
was born in Flatbush on December 29, 1973 to
Irish-Catholic parents. Mary’s family was neither rich nor
poor. As a child, she attended St. Rose de Lima Parochial
School. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was
only ten years old. When she became older, she became a
popular actress.

Through the years, Mary Tyler Moore has
remained as popular as ever. With recent movies such as
“Flirting With Disaster” and “Payback”. But it wasn’t always
so easy for her. She started out as the leggy secretary, Sam
on “Richard Diamond, Private Detective” in 1957, where
you could only see her legs. In 1961, Mary got her biggest
break yet, playing Laura Petrie, the wife of Rob on “The
Dick Van Dyke Show”. Mary played her part well for the
next six years.

During this time, she was awarded two
Emmy’s. In 1966, the show was taken off and Mary was
left without a job. In 1967, Mary went on to play the part
of Miss Dorothy in the Oscar winning, “Thoroughly
Modern Millie”. She played along side Julie Andrews and
Carol Channing. In a survey taken by 97 people who had
seen the movie, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” ranked a 7.7
out of on the rating scale, where 10 is the highest and 1 is
the lowest. The number 10 received the highest number of
votes (29).

Through the years, Mary appeared in other
movies, which did little for her career. Then, in 1969, she
appeared with Dick Van Dyke in a special “How To
Succeed in the 70’s Without Really Trying” which appeared
on CBS on April 13, 1969. It was this show that rekindled
the network’s interest in Mary Tyler Moore. CBS is
reported to have said, “My God, we’ve discovered a star”.
CBS wanted Mary for a series. At the time, they felt that
they needed to explain to the audience why a 30 year old
woman had not been married. In a way, it demonstrated
how limited the public’s thinking was at the time, with
respect to women.

At first, the studio suggested a divorcee.
Mary loved the idea, but the network soon decided that the
viewing audience would think that Mary had divorced Dick
Van Dyke. At first it was so frustrating to executives that
they considered giving up on the series completely. On
January 10, 1970, Jim Brooks and Allan Burns came up
with the “format” for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. This
started one of televisions most memorable series. When the
show first tested among viewers though, it received the
worst ratings in CBS history. The network decided to try
the show out anyway.

With a combination of a great cast,
including Cloris Leachman, Edward Asner, Valerie Harper,
Ted Knight and Gavin MacLeod, and a great group of
writers, the show finally made it. Over it’s seven year run,
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” received 29 well deserved
Emmy awards, which is more than any other show ever.

Among these awards were “Actress of the Year: Mary
Tyler Moore”, Three “Outstanding Comedy Series”
awards, Three “Outstanding Supporting Actress” awards
for Valerie Harper, and others. The popular show,
launched three spinoffs for other cast members. They
included “Rhoda”, starring Valerie Harper, which started in
1974, and was once higher rated than “The Mary Tyler
Moore Show” itself.

Also launched was “Lou Grant”
starring Edward Asner, and “Phyllis” starring Cloris
Leachman. In those days, there were few entertainment
programs which featured career women, but Mary
Richards’ was the ideal of a modern, independent
Midwestern career woman. Mary Tyler Moore paved the
road for other leading female television performers. Who
knows? Without Mary Tyler Moore, they may have never
been a Roseanne, Ellen Degeneres, Brett Butler, or
Candice Bergan.

After seven years, the show ended sadly
in 1977. In a heartwarming episode entitled simply, “The
Last Show”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” left the
airways in a way most shows only dream of going. Mary
Tyler Moore believes that the show could be put on again
and still work. “If you were to re-do the hair and re-do the
clothing, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference,
because the shows were about feelings, insecurities and
small triumphs. We were never on the soapbox.” Moore
said. After “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, Mary went on
to win a Golden Globe and an Academy Award
Nomination for her role as Beth in “Ordinary People”, and
she appeared in other films such as “Just Between Friends”
and “Six Weeks”. She also appeared in various television
series, including “Mary” and “Annie McGuire”, in which she
played the title roles.

A victim of diabetes, Mary serves as
the International Chairperson for the Juvenile Diabetes
Foundation International and The Diabetes Research
Foundation. Mary is also a strict vegetarian and animal
rights activist. Mary believes that while there are other
things to eat on the earth that don’t require the killing of
innocent creatures, than animals should not be killed. Mary
hopes that one day people will say “Can you believe
people used to eat animals?”.

Mary Tyler Moore recently
wrote her autobiography, which is entitled, “After All”. Her
biography proves that Mary Tyler Moore and Mary
Richards are not much alike. She breaks new ground when
she talks about her struggle with drugs and the pain of
trying to help her brother commit suicide. Mary’s latest
feature film, “Flirting With Disaster”, starring Ben Stiller and
Patricia Arquette, shows a new side of Mary. The film
teeters on the edge for most viewers who are used to the
Mary Richards’ side of Mary Tyler Moore. Ms. Moore,
on the other hand, thinks otherwise. “The characters are
married adults and there’s nothing actually explicitly shown.
It’s always over the back of the head and nothing is seen.”

After bit parts and lead roles, Mary Tyler Moore shows
that she has had her share of ups and downs. Her
production company, “Mary Tyler Moore”, has produced
many popular television sitcoms, and today, Mary is one of
the wealthiest women in show business. In 1996 Mary was
crowned Queen of Brooklyn, showing that she truly did
“Make It After All”

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