One person stands out. A TV legend and an American icon: Mary Tyler Moore. Mary was born in Flatbush on December 29, 1936 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 n “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 ut 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 oman 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 how 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 or 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 hings 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.