Mary Tyler Moore, the beloved actress best known for her 1970s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has died. She was 80. Called a ‘fearless visionary,’ she was an advocate for people with Diabetes Type 1 and many other causes. She was not only an actress but a producer as well. She will be missed by so many.
Moore was born in Brooklyn, New York on Dec. 29, 1936. Her mother was a homemaker and her father was a clerk. She spent the first 8 years of her life in Queens and was the oldest of three children of three. After her family moved to LA she spent her Catholic- school years acting and dancing. When she became a teenager she decided to become a performer.
From the article:
“Though she would come to be known for her acting, Moore’s first foray into show business was as a dancer. At 17, she landed a gig as Happy Hotpoint, a spritely dancing elf, in a series of appliance commercials that aired during the popular Ozzie and Harriet show. In 1959, she booked her first regular TV role on the drama Richard Prince, Private Detective, as an enigmatic receptionist whose onscreen appearances were limited to the sound of her voice and shots of her legs beneath a desk.”
However, her big break came two years later when she was cast as Laura Petrie, opposite Dick Van Dyke. That character helped win Moore an Emmy and by the time The Dick Van Dyke Show ended in 1966 she was ready for something even bigger.
“Building on the momentum of Van Dyke, Moore and her second husband, Grant Tinker (who she had married after divorcing Meeker in 1961), formed the production company MTM Enterprises and developed a pitch for a sitcom in which she would play the lead. The Mary Tyler Moore Show aired its first episode on Sept. 19, 1970, and would run for seven seasons, cementing Moore’s status as a pioneer for women on television. MTM would go on to produce several of its spin-offs in addition to series like The Bob Newhart Show and St. Elsewhere.”
Moore’s character, Mary Richards, became the first never-married career woman to carry a TV series; in fact, many consider it a predecessor to shows like Sex and the City, Girls and 30 Rock. The show proved that a show could “find both its drama and its humor in female friendship, the pursuit of a career, office relationships and even a sex life (if only alluded to implicitly).”
The show also became a kind of forum for conversations about marriage, birth control, and the pursuit of higher education. And of the 75 writers on the show- 25 were females- in 1973 America.
Moore wrote two memoirs: After All, published in 1995, about her longstanding struggles with alcoholism and Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes, which focused on her decades-long illness, Type 1 Diabetes. She also served for years as the International Chair of JDRF (the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) working to increase awareness of type 1 diabetes.
She was an incredible woman, actress, and author and she will be sorely missed.