Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mary Tyler Moore who played Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary was born in 1936 in Brooklyn Heights, New York.  When she was young, she aspired to be a dancer and appeared as a dancing elf and an appliance in a series of 1950's Hotpoint commercials. She also appeared as a dancer in "The Eddie Fisher Show" (1957) and "Once Upon a Horse".  She landed her first steady role on a TV series in "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" in 1959.  However, all that was ever seen of her was her legs and only her voice was heard as she played a mysterious, sexy secretary.

Mary Tyler Moore then

She played mostly TV roles afterward in shows such as "Bourbon Street Beat" (1959), "Overland Trail" (1960), "77 Sunset Strip" (1959 to 1960), "Checkmate" (1960), "Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1960), "Riverboat" (1959-60), "Bachelor Father" (1960), "The Aquanauts" (1961), "Surfside 6" (1961), and  "Hawaiian Eye" (4 episodes, 1960-61).

Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

In 1961 she starred in her first film "X-15" with Charles Bronson. That same year she landed the role of Laura Petrie in "The Dick Van Dyke Show".  She played the role for 154 episodes until 1966. 

It was then she took a break from TV and starred in a string of movies over the next couple of years such as "Thoroughly Modern Millie" in 1967 with Julie Andrews, James Fox, Carol Channing, John Gavin, Jack Soo, and Pat Morita.  Which was followed by "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?" in 1968 with George Peppard, Don Stroud, Susan Saint James, and Dom DeLuise. That same year she also starred in "Don't Just Stand There!" co-starring Robert Wagner and Harvey Corman.

Mary Tyler Moore and Elvis Presley in the film "Change of Habit"

Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, and Valerie Harper
of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

It was in 1969 that she landed the role opposite Elvis Presley in "Change of Habit" as Sister Michelle.  The film also happened to star Edward Asner who would be working with her again real soon in a long term basis.  Because the following year in 1970, Mary returned to TV in a big way with her own show and her signature role as Mary Richards in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-starring Edward Asner (Lou Grant), Ted Knight (Ted Baxter), Gavin MacLeod (Murray Slaughter), Valerie Harper (Rhoda Morgenstern), Georigia Engle (Georgette Franklin), Betty White (Sue Ann Nivens), and Cloris Leachman (Phyllis Lindstrom).  The show ran for seven seasons until 1977 and was such a success that it spawned two spin-off shows during it's seven year run and one afterward. Co-star Valerie Harper would get her own show "Rhoda" in 1974 and the year after Cloris Leachman would get her own show "Phyllis". Mary would make appearances in each of these spin-offs.  Coincidentally, Mary was the owner of the show that produced these three shows, MTM productions, short for Mary Tyler Moore Productions.  Ed Asner got his own show based on his character at the end of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" titled "Lou Grant" which sort of continued the story of Mary's boss moving on to Los Angeles after everyone at the newsroom were fired.

Cast of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" Front: Betty White (Sue Ann Nivens), Mary Tyler Moore (Mary Richards), Georgia Engel (Georgette Franklin).  Back: Gavin MacLeod (Murray Slaughter), Edward Asner (Lou Grant), Ted Knight (Ted Baxter)
To the right: Mary Tyler Moore (Mary Richards) and Valerie Harper (Rhoda Morgenstern) of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
The logo for MTM, Mary Tyler Moore Productions.

During the seven year run of her show, she also produced the made for TV movie "Mary's Incredible Dream" featuring herself and John Ritter.  After "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", Mary took a two year break then came back with a new show titled "Mary" in 1978 which featured a skit type format and featured Michael Keaton, David Letterman, James Hampton, Swoozie Kurtz, and Dick Shawn.  The show only lasted one season due to poor ratings.  She again made another attempt to revamp the show a year later and was aired as "The Mary Tyler Moore Hour" which had appearances by greats such as Lucille Ball, Dick Van Dyke, Mike Douglas, Ken Howard, Bonnie Franklin, Linda Lavin, Gene Kelly, Hal Linden, Johnny Mathis, Claudia Lonow, Bea Arthur, and others.  Despite this the show also suffered poor ratings and was canceled.

In 1980, Mary starred in the film "Ordinary People" with Donald Sutherland, Judd Hirsch, Elizabeth McGovern, and Timothy Hutton. Two years later she starred with Dudley Moore in "Six Weeks" followed another two years later by the TV movie "Heartsounds" with James Garner.

With another attempt at the show "Mary" in 1985 underway, again with bad reviews as well in-house production strife, caused the show to do poorly.  Mary asked the network that the show be terminated and so it was after just one season.  In 1988 she played the role of "Annie McGuire" in a show by the same title, it too lasted just one season. It that show she co-starred with Denis Arndt, John Randolph, and Eileen Heckart.

Mary Tyler Moore in 1988

Mary then starred in TV movies and made guest appearances on shows including "The Last Best Year" (1990), "Thanksgiving Day" (1990), "Stolen Babies" (1993), "Frasier" (1994), "New York News" (1995), and "Stolen Memories: Secrets from the Rose Garden" (1996).

In 1996 Moore starred in films such as "Flirting with Disaster", "Keys to Tuslsa", and "How the Toys Saved Christmas" (voice).  The following year she appeared in four episodes of the TV series "The Naked Truth".

Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper reunited as "Mary and Rhoda" in the year 2000
1997 brought a reunion between  Mary Tyler Moore and Ed Asner  in the TV movie "Payback".  A few years later, Mary and Valerie Harper reunited as Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern in the TV movie "Mary and Rhoda" in 2000. That same year she also appeared in "Good as Gold" and the film "Labor Pains" with Kyra Sedgwick, Rob Morrow, Carole Shelley, James Naughton, and Robert Klein.  She then starred in TV movies and films such as "Cheats" (2002), "Miss Lettie and Me" with Burt Reynolds (2002), reunited with Dick Van Dyke in "The Gin Game" (2003), and "Blessings" with Ralph Waite and Liam Waite (2003).

Mary Tyler Moore in 2006
Mary Tyler Moore in 2008

In 2004 Mary Tyler Moore joined Dick Van Dyke again in "The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited" featuring surviving cast members such as Larry Mathews, Jerry Paris, Morey Amsterdam, Carl Reiner, and Rose Marie.

Mary Tyler Moore today

Lately, Mary has appeared in "That '70s Show" (2006), "Lipstick Jungle" (2008), the film "Against the Current" (2009), and will be reunited with Betty White for the first time since "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in an up and coming episode of the new series "Hot In Cleveland" also starring Valerie Bertinelli.

Mary wrote a memoir in 1995 titled "After All".  Well Mary, looks like you HAVE made it after all!

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a career
    Immagine all the lines she had to memorize
    And she still looks so beautiful!!