Remembering Mary Tyler Moore

We remember Emmy-winning TV star Mary Tyler Moore, who died on Wednesday at the age of 80.

Photo by Philippe Halsman

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Emmy-winning TV star Mary Tyler Moore died today at the age of 80.

For the generation that remembers her from the 1960s, she’ll always be the perky, sentimental young bride and former-dancer-now-suburban-mom, Laura Petrie, on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966). Later, she played a single career woman — a television first — on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977). Both characters are well remembered, not just for Moore’s Emmy-winning performances, but because they reflected their era so well.

In between these two sitcoms, in 1966, the Post caught up with her as she was preparing to star in Holly Golightly, a musical adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Beyond Moore’s own energetic talents, the show featured Richard Chamberlain, heart-throb star of TV’s Doctor Kildare. In “From TV to Tiffany’s in One Wild Leap,” writer John Bower gives readers a sense of Moore’s energy, her motivation, and the stage fright that dogs her whenever she performs.

Mary Tyler Moore
Read “Mary Tyler Moore: From TV to Tiffany’s in one wild leap” from the pages of the November 19, 1966 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

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  1. Thank you for reprinting this great feature on Mary Tyler Moore that really took us behind the scenes of her transition from TV star to Broadway star, her anxieties and more. The play closed after only 4 performances but she continued to experiment with films before returning “home” to television in her own series.

    The Mary Tyler Moore Show was groundbreaking for women, but was not the “Women’s Lib” show much of the media has portrayed it or her to be since her passing. It was a brilliantly written, funny show that cleverly incorporated women’s issues into it, such as equal pay for equal work. Those were times in the show that WERE more serious, but never too much. They made their point, but always entertained.

    Much of the series dealt with awkward, embarrassing things in the workplace and
    off the job that most people could relate to, women OR men, and find funny. One of the things I took away from the series were lessons on how to handle undignified situations in life.

    The fact it was happening to a woman was almost irrelevant more often than not. She taught me how to deal with my own embarrassing situations I’d get myself into (usually not my fault), to not make it worse, and get through it with a smile, laughter and my palms turned upward, folks!

    The series got better and and funnier over the years too, as Mary moved up the ranks. While Laura Petrie was a cutting-edge late mid-century housewife, Mary Richards was the same as an early late-century career woman who entertained and empowered EVERYONE who watched her, and her priceless interactions with her co-stars (and guests) each week.

    She had to deal with a lot off screen, including diabetes, alcoholism and the death of her son at a young age. She represents the American spirit of never giving up and turning lemons into lemonade, and was one of my best teachers in learning that life skill. Just last month at a few Holiday parties in fact, usually with the relatives—you know the drill on that shtick!


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