Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore (December 29, 1936 – January 25, 2017) was an American actress, known for her roles in the television sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977), in which she starred as Mary Richards, a single woman working as a local news producer in Minneapolis, and The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966), in which she played Laura Petrie, a former dancer turned Westchester homemaker, wife and mother.[1][2][3][4] Her film work includes 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie and 1980's Ordinary People, in which she played a role that was very different from the television characters she had portrayed, and for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.[5][6][7]

Thanks to her roles on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, in which her characters often broke from stereotypical images of women and pushed gender norms, Moore became a cultural icon and served as an inspiration for many younger actresses, professional women, and feminists.[8][9][10] She was later active in charity work and various political causes, particularly the issues of animal rights, vegetarianism[11] and diabetes. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes early in the run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.[12] She also suffered from alcoholism, which she wrote about in her first of two memoirs. She died from cardiopulmonary arrest due to pneumonia at the age of 80 on January 25, 2017.[13]

Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore rework
at Broadway Barks in 2011
BornDecember 29, 1936
DiedJanuary 25, 2017 (aged 80)
Resting placeOak Lawn Cemetery, Fairfield, Connecticut
EducationImmaculate Heart High School
Years active1957–2013
Height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
  • Dick Meeker
    (m. 1955; div. 1961)
  • Grant Tinker
    (m. 1962; div. 1981)
  • Robert Levine (m. 1983)
Signature of Mary Tyler Moore

Early life

Moore was born in Brooklyn, New York, to George Tyler Moore (1913–2006), a clerk, and his wife Marjorie Hackett (1916–1992).[14][15] Moore was the oldest of three children (her siblings were John and Elizabeth). Moore's family lived on Ocean Parkway in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Her paternal great-grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Tilghman Moore, owned the house which is now the Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters Museum in Winchester, Virginia.[16] When she was eight years old, Moore's family moved to Los Angeles at the recommendation of Moore's uncle, an MCA employee.[17] She was raised Catholic,[18] and attended St. Rose of Lima Parochial School in Brooklyn until the third grade. She then attended Saint Ambrose School in Los Angeles, followed by Immaculate Heart High School in Los Feliz, California.[19][20] Moore's sister, Elizabeth, died at age 21 "from a combination of ... painkillers and alcohol", while her brother died at age 47 from kidney cancer.[21]


Mary Tyler Moore Johnny Staccato 1960
Moore in Johnny Staccato, 1960


Early appearances

Moore decided at age 17 that she wanted to be a dancer. Her television career began with Moore's first job as "Happy Hotpoint", a tiny elf dancing on Hotpoint appliances in TV commercials during the 1950s series Ozzie and Harriet.[22] After appearing in 39 Hotpoint commercials in five days, she received approximately $6,000.[23] She became pregnant while still working as "Happy" and Hotpoint ended her work when it was too difficult to conceal her pregnancy with the elf costume.[22] Moore modeled anonymously on the covers of a number of record albums and auditioned for the role of the older daughter of Danny Thomas for his long-running TV show, but was turned down.[24][25] Much later, Thomas explained that "she missed it by a nose ... no daughter of mine could ever have a nose that small".[25]

Moore's first regular television role was as a mysterious and glamorous telephone receptionist on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. On the show, Moore's voice was heard, but only her legs appeared on camera, adding to the character's mystique.[26] About this time, she guest-starred on John Cassavetes's NBC detective series Johnny Staccato. She also guest-starred in Bachelor Father in the episode titled "Bentley and the Big Board". In 1960, she was featured in two episodes of the William Bendix-Doug McClure NBC western series, Overland Trail and several months later in the first episode of NBC's one-season The Tab Hunter Show, a sitcom starring the former teen idol as a bachelor cartoonist.[27] In 1961, Moore appeared in several big parts in movies and on television, including Bourbon Street Beat, 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside 6, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Steve Canyon, Hawaiian Eye, Thriller and Lock-Up.

Mary Tyler Moore Dick Van Dyke 1964
With Dick Van Dyke, 1964

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966)

In 1961, Carl Reiner cast Moore in The Dick Van Dyke Show, a weekly series based on Reiner's own life and career as a writer for Sid Caesar's television variety show Your Show of Shows, telling the cast from the outset that it would run for no more than five years. The show was produced by Danny Thomas' company, and Thomas himself recommended her. He remembered Moore as "the girl with three names" whom he had turned down earlier.[28] Moore's energetic comic performances as Van Dyke's character's wife, begun at age 24 (11 years Van Dyke's junior), made both the actress and her signature tight capri pants extremely popular, and she became internationally known. When she won her first Emmy Award for her portrayal of Laura Petrie,[29] she said, "I know this will never happen again." [30]

Mary Tyler Moore cast 1970
The original cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970. Top: Valerie Harper (Rhoda), Ed Asner (Lou Grant), Cloris Leachman (Phyllis). Bottom: Gavin MacLeod (Murray), Moore, Ted Knight (Ted).

The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977)

In 1970, after having appeared earlier in a pivotal one-hour musical special called Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman, Moore and husband Grant Tinker successfully pitched a sitcom centered on Moore to CBS. The Mary Tyler Moore Show is a half-hour newsroom sitcom featuring Ed Asner as her gruff boss Lou Grant. Moore's show proved so popular that three other regular characters, Valerie Harper as Rhoda Morgenstern, Cloris Leachman as Phyllis Lindstrom and Ed Asner as Lou Grant were also spun off into their own series. The premise of the single working woman's life, alternating during the program between work and home, became a television staple.[28][31]

After six years of ratings in the top 20,[32] the show slipped to number 39 during season seven.[33] Producers decided to cancel the series because of falling ratings, afraid that the show's legacy might be damaged if it were renewed for another season.[33] Despite the decline in ratings, the 1977 season would go on to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series,[34] to add to the awards it had won in 1975 and 1976. All in all, during its seven seasons, the program held the record for winning the most Emmys – 29.[35] That record remained unbroken until 2002 when the NBC sitcom Frasier won its 30th Emmy.[35] The Mary Tyler Moore Show became a touchpoint of the Women's Movement for its portrayal of an independent working woman, which challenged the traditional woman's role in marriage and family.[36][37]

Later projects

Mary Tyler Moore - 1978
Moore in 1978

During season six of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Moore appeared in a musical/variety special for CBS titled Mary's Incredible Dream,[38] which featured Ben Vereen. In 1978, she starred in a second CBS special, How to Survive the '70s and Maybe Even Bump Into Happiness. This time, she received significant support from a strong lineup of guest stars: Bill Bixby, John Ritter, Harvey Korman and Dick Van Dyke. In the 1978–79 season, Moore attempted to try the musical-variety genre by starring in two unsuccessful CBS variety series in a row: Mary, which featured David Letterman, Michael Keaton, Swoosie Kurtz and Dick Shawn in the supporting cast. CBS canceled the series. In March 1979, the network brought Moore back in a new, retooled show, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, which was described as a "sit-var" (part situation comedy/part variety series) with Moore portraying a TV star putting on a variety show.[32] The program lasted just 11 episodes.[39]

In the 1985–86 season, she returned to CBS in a series titled Mary, which suffered from poor reviews, sagging ratings, and internal strife within the production crew. According to Moore, she asked CBS to pull the show as she was unhappy with the direction of the program and the producers.[40] She also starred in the short-lived Annie McGuire in 1988.[41] In 1995, after another lengthy break from TV series work, Moore was cast as tough, unsympathetic newspaper owner Louise "the Dragon" Felcott on the CBS drama New York News, her third series in which her character worked in the news industry. As with her previous series Mary (1985), Moore quickly became unhappy with the nature of her character and was negotiating with producers to get out of her contract for the series when it was canceled.[42]

In the mid-1990s, Moore had a cameo and a guest-starring role as herself on two episodes of Ellen. She also guest-starred on Ellen DeGeneres's next TV show, The Ellen Show, in 2001. In 2004, Moore reunited with her Dick Van Dyke Show castmates for a reunion "episode" called The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited.[43]

In 2006, Moore guest-starred as Christine St. George, a high-strung host of a fictional TV show, on three episodes of Fox sitcom That '70s Show.[44] Moore's scenes were shot on the same soundstage where The Mary Tyler Moore Show was filmed in the 1970s.[44] Moore made a guest appearance on the season two premiere of Hot in Cleveland, which starred her former co-star Betty White.[45] This marked the first time that White and Moore had worked together since The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended in 1977.[46] In the fall of 2013, Moore reprised her role on Hot in Cleveland in a season four episode which not only reunited Moore and White, but also former MTM cast members Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper and Georgia Engel as well. This reunion coincided with Harper's public announcement that she had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was given only a few months to live.[47]


Moore appeared in several Broadway plays. She starred in Whose Life Is It Anyway with James Naughton, which opened on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on February 24, 1980, and ran for 96 performances, and in Sweet Sue, which opened at the Music Box Theatre on January 8, 1987, later transferred to the Royale Theatre, and ran for 164 performances. She was the star of a new musical version of Breakfast at Tiffany's in December 1966, but the show, titled Holly Golightly, was a flop that closed in previews before opening on Broadway. In reviews of performances in Philadelphia and Boston, critics "murdered" the play in which Moore claimed to be singing with bronchial pneumonia.[48]

Mary Tyler Moore 1988
Moore at the 40th Primetime Emmy Awards (1988)

Moore appeared in previews of the Neil Simon play Rose's Dilemma at the off-Broadway Manhattan Theatre Club in December 2003 but quit the production after receiving a critical letter from Simon instructing her to "learn your lines or get out of my play".[49] Moore had been using an earpiece on stage to feed her lines to the repeatedly rewritten play.[50]

During the 1980s, Moore and her production company produced five plays: Noises Off, The Octette Bridge Club, Joe Egg, Benefactors, and Safe Sex.[51]


Moore made her film debut in 1961's X-15. Following her success on The Dick Van Dyke Show, she appeared in a string of films in the late 1960s (after signing an exclusive contract with Universal Pictures), including 1967's hit Thoroughly Modern Millie, as a would-be actress in 1920s New York who is taken under the wing of Julie Andrews' title character, and the 1968 films What's So Bad About Feeling Good? with George Peppard, and Don't Just Stand There! with Robert Wagner.

In 1969, she starred opposite Elvis Presley as a nun in Change of Habit.[52] Moore's future television castmate Ed Asner also appeared in that film as a police officer.[53] Moore did not appear in another feature film for eleven years. On her return to the big screen in 1980, she received her only Oscar nomination for her role in the coming-of-age drama Ordinary People, as a grieving mother unable to cope either with the drowning death of one of her sons or the subsequent suicide attempt of her surviving son, played by Timothy Hutton who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film.[5][54] Despite that success, Moore's only two films in the next fifteen years were the poorly received Six Weeks (1982)[55] and Just Between Friends (1986).[56] In 1996 she made her return to films with the independent hit Flirting with Disaster.[57]

Moore appeared in the television movie Run a Crooked Mile (1969), and after the conclusion of her series in 1977, she starred in several prominent movies for television, including First, You Cry (1978), which brought her an Emmy nomination for portraying NBC correspondent Betty Rollin's struggle with breast cancer. Her later TV films included the medical drama Heartsounds (1984) with James Garner, which brought her another Emmy nomination, Finnegan Begin Again (1985) with Robert Preston, which earned her a CableACE Award nomination, the 1988 mini-series Lincoln, which brought her another Emmy nod for playing Mary Todd Lincoln, and Stolen Babies, for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 1993.[58] Later she reunited with old co-stars in Mary and Rhoda (2000) with Valerie Harper, and The Gin Game (2003) (based on the Broadway play), reuniting her with Dick Van Dyke. Moore also starred in Like Mother, Like Son (2001), playing convicted murderer Sante Kimes.


Moore wrote two memoirs. In the first, After All, published in 1995, she acknowledged that she was a recovering alcoholic,[59] while in Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes (2009), she focuses on living with type 1 diabetes .[60]

MTM Enterprises

Moore and her husband Grant Tinker founded MTM Enterprises, Inc. in 1969.[61] This company produced The Mary Tyler Moore Show and several other television shows and films. It also included a record label, MTM Records.[62] MTM Enterprises produced a variety of American sitcoms and drama television series such as Rhoda, Lou Grant and Phyllis (all spin-offs from The Mary Tyler Moore Show), The Bob Newhart Show, The Texas Wheelers, WKRP in Cincinnati, The White Shadow, Friends and Lovers, St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues, and was later sold to Television South, an ITV Franchise holder in 1988.[63][61] The MTM logo resembles the Metro Goldwyn Mayer logo, but with a cat named Mimsie instead of a lion.[64]

Personal life

At age 18 in 1955, Moore married Richard Carleton Meeker,[65] whom she described as "the boy next door", and within six weeks she was pregnant with her only child, Richard Jr. (born July 3, 1956).[66] Meeker and Moore divorced in 1961.[67] Moore married Grant Tinker, a CBS executive (later chairman of NBC), in 1962, and in 1970 they formed the television production company MTM Enterprises,[68] which created and produced the company's first television series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Moore and Tinker divorced in 1981.[69][70]

On October 14, 1980, at the age of 24, Moore's son Richard died of an accidental gunshot to the head while handling a small .410 shotgun.[71][72][73][74][75][76][77] The model was later taken off the market because of its "hair trigger".[78]

Moore married Robert Levine [77] on November 23, 1983, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.[79] They met when Moore’s mother was treated by him in New York City on a weekend house call, after Moore and her mother returned from a visit to the Vatican where they had a personal audience with Pope John Paul II.[80]

Moore Hastert
Moore presents the JDRF's Hero's Award to the US Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, for his role in securing federal funding for type 1 diabetes research, 2003

Health issues and death

Moore was a recovered alcoholic, and had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 1969, after having a miscarriage.[81] In 2011, she had surgery to remove a meningioma, a benign brain tumor.[82] In 2014, friends reported that she had heart and kidney problems and was nearly blind.[83]

Moore died at the age of 80 on January 25, 2017, at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut, from cardiopulmonary arrest complicated by pneumonia after having been placed on a respirator the previous week.[84][85] She was interred in Oak Lawn Cemetery, in Fairfield, Connecticut, during a private ceremony.[86]


In addition to her acting work, Moore was the International Chairman of JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).[87] In this role, she used her celebrity to help raise funds and awareness of diabetes mellitus type 1.

In 2007, in honor of Moore's dedication to the Foundation, JDRF created the "Forever Moore" research initiative which will support JDRF's Academic Research and Development and JDRF's Clinical Development Program. The program works on translating basic research advances into new treatments and technologies for those living with type 1 diabetes.[88]

A long-time animal rights activist, she had advocated for animal rights for years, and supported charities like the ASPCA and Farm Sanctuary.[89] She helped raise awareness about factory farming methods and promoted more compassionate treatment of farm animals.[90] She was a pescetarian.[91]

Moore appeared as herself in 1996 on an episode of the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom Ellen. The storyline of the episode includes Moore honoring Ellen for trying to save a 65-year-old lobster from being eaten at a seafood restaurant.[92] She was also a co-founder of Broadway Barks, an annual animal adopt-a-thon held in New York City. Moore and friend Bernadette Peters worked to make it a no-kill city and to encourage adopting animals from shelters.[93]

In honor of her father, George Tyler Moore, a lifelong American Civil War enthusiast, in 1995 Moore donated funds to acquire an historic structure in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, for Shepherd College (now Shepherd University) to be used as a center for Civil War studies. The center, named the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, is housed in the historic Conrad Shindler House (c. 1795), which is named in honor of her great-great-great-grandfather, who owned the structure from 1815 to 1852.[94]

Moore also contributed to the renovation of the house used as headquarters during 1861–62 by Confederate Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Use of the house had been offered to Jackson by its owner, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Tilghman Moore, commander of the 4th Virginia Infantry and a great-grandfather of Mary Tyler Moore.[16]


During the 1960s and 1970s, Moore had a reputation as a liberal or moderate, although she endorsed President Richard Nixon in 1972.[95] She endorsed President Jimmy Carter for re-election in a 1980 campaign television ad.[96] In 2011, friend and former co-star Ed Asner said during an interview on The O'Reilly Factor that Moore "has become much more conservative of late". Bill O'Reilly, host of that program, stated that Moore had been a viewer of his show and that her political views had leaned conservative in recent years.[97] In a Parade magazine article from March 22, 2009, Moore identified herself as a libertarian centrist who watched Fox News. She stated, "...when one looks at what's happened to television, there are so few shows that interest me. I do watch a lot of Fox News. I like Charles Krauthammer and Bill O'Reilly... If McCain had asked me to campaign for him, I would have."[98] In an interview for the 2013 PBS series Pioneers of Television, Moore said that she was recruited to join the feminist movement of the 1970s by Gloria Steinem but did not agree with Steinem's views. Moore said she believed that women have an important role in raising children and that she did not believe in Steinem's view that women owe it to themselves to have a career.[99]

Awards and honors

MplsMTMstatue resize
A statue, designed by Gwen Gillen, at Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis replicates the hat-tossing image that opened The Mary Tyler Moore Show.[100]

In February 1981, Moore was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the drama film Ordinary People but lost to Sissy Spacek for her role in Coal Miner's Daughter.[101] In 1981 she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama for that role.[102]

Moore received a total of seven Emmy Awards.[103]

On Broadway, Moore received a special Tony Award for her performance in Whose Life Is It Anyway? in 1980,[104] and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award as well. In addition, as a producer, she received nominations for Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards for MTM's productions of Noises Off in 1984 and Benefactors in 1986, and won a Tony Award for Best Reproduction of a Play or Musical in 1985 for Joe Egg.[105]

In 1986, she was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.[106] In 1987, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy from the American Comedy Awards.[107]

Moore's contributions to the television industry were recognized in 1992 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[108] The star is located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard.[109]

On May 8, 2002, Moore was present when cable network TV Land and the City of Minneapolis dedicated a statue in downtown Minneapolis of the television character she made famous on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The statue, by artist Gwendolyn Gillen, was chosen from designs submitted by 21 sculptors.[110] The bronze sculpture was located in front of the Dayton's department store – now Macy's – near the corner of 7th Street South and Nicollet Mall. It depicts the iconic moment in the show's opening credits where Moore tosses her Tam o' Shanter in the air, in a freeze-frame at the end of the montage.[111][112] While Dayton's is clearly seen in the opening sequence, the store in the background of the hat toss is actually Donaldson's, which was, like Dayton's, a locally based department store with a long history at 7th and Nicollet. In late 2015, the statue was relocated to the city's visitor center during renovations and reinstalled in its original location in 2017.[113]

Moore was awarded the 2011 Screen Actors Guild's lifetime achievement award.[114][115] In New York City in 2012, Moore and Bernadette Peters were honored by the Ride of Fame and a double-decker bus was dedicated to them and their charity work on behalf of "Broadway Barks", which the duo co-founded.[116][117]



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  • Moore, Mary Tyler (1995). After All. Putnam. ISBN 0-399-14091-3.
  • Moore, Mary Tyler (2009). Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-37631-6.

External links

26th Primetime Emmy Awards

The 26th Emmy Awards, later known as the 26th Primetime Emmy Awards, were handed out on May 28, 1974. The ceremony was hosted by Johnny Carson. Winners are listed in bold and networks are in parentheses.

The top shows of the night were M*A*S*H and Upstairs, Downstairs. M*A*S*H and Mary Tyler Moore had the most major nominations with ten. Two show led the night with five major wins, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and Mary Tyler Moore.

For this ceremony, individual awards dubbed "Super Emmys" were given out in addition to the traditional categories. The individual categories were dropped the following year and have not returned since.

27th Primetime Emmy Awards

The 27th Emmy Awards, later known as the 27th Primetime Emmy Awards, were handed out on May 19, 1975. There was no host this year. Winners are listed in bold and series' networks are in parentheses.

The top shows of the night were Mary Tyler Moore, and Upstairs, Downstairs which won its second straight Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. M*A*S*H led all shows with nine major nominations heading into the ceremony, but only won one award. Mary Tyler Moore led all shows with five major wins.

28th Primetime Emmy Awards

The 28th Primetime Emmy Awards were handed out on May 17, 1976. The ceremony was hosted by John Denver and Mary Tyler Moore. Winners are listed in bold with series' networks in parentheses. As of 2016, this was the last Emmy Awards ceremonies held during the first half of a calendar year.

The top show of the night was Mary Tyler Moore which won its second straight Outstanding Comedy Series award, and five major awards overall. Police Story, won Outstanding Drama Series, even though it only received one major nomination.

The television miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man set numerous records. It received 17 major nominations, breaking the record held by Playhouse 90 which was set in 1959 (since broken). It also received 13 acting nominations, although some of the acting categories at this ceremony were later eliminated or combined. Despite this, it lost Outstanding Limited Series to Upstairs, Downstairs.

The Shubert Theatre had previously hosted the 1973 Emmy ceremony; it would host the ceremony a third and final time in 2001.

29th Primetime Emmy Awards

The 29th Primetime Emmy Awards were held on Sunday, September 11, 1977. The ceremony was broadcast on NBC. It was hosted by Angie Dickinson and Robert Blake.

The top shows of the night were Mary Tyler Moore, which, in its final season, won its third consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series Award, it also became the first comedy series to gain eleven major nominations (since broken). Upstairs, Downstairs, also in its final season, won its third Outstanding Drama Series Award in four years (it competed as a miniseries in 1976, and won that category too). But the overwhelming champion of the ceremony was the miniseries Roots.

Roots set several milestones and broke multiple records during the night. It became the first show to receive at least twenty major nominations (21). Adding its nominations in Creative Arts categories, its total expands to 37. Both records still stand for all shows. It was the first show to gain every nomination in an acting category. Its thirteen acting nominations tied the record set the previous year by Rich Man, Poor Man, however all of Roots' nominations came in the miniseries category, while Rich Man, Poor Man had nominations cross over into the drama series field. Roots became the first miniseries, and second show overall, along with All in the Family in 1972, to win six of seven major categories. All but one of Roots' eight episodes were nominated for major awards (Part VII).

Another distinction of the night was that Mary Kay Place won a Major Acting award for a TV show (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) that had no major network, only broadcast in Syndication - the first time this rare feat has occurred.

With this ceremony, the Primetime Emmys began a long residency at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium that would continue until 1997.

Chuckles Bites the Dust

"Chuckles Bites the Dust" is an episode of the television situation comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show which first aired on October 25, 1975. The episode's plot centers on the WJM-TV staff's humorous reaction to the absurd death of Chuckles the Clown, an often-mentioned but seldom-seen character who starred in an eponymously titled show at the station.

List of The Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is an American television series that originally aired from September 19, 1970 to March 19, 1977. Each season consisted of 24 half-hour episodes.

List of minor characters on The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The following is a list of minor characters recurringly featured on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

For the main characters, see the following pages: Ted Baxter • Lou Grant • Phyllis Lindstrom • Rhoda Morgenstern • Sue Ann Nivens • Mary Richards • Murray Slaughter

Georgette Franklin Baxter was played by Georgia Engel. Georgette was the somewhat ditzy girlfriend (and later wife) of stentorian news anchor Ted Baxter (played by Ted Knight). Mary Tyler Moore described her as a cross between Stan Laurel and Marilyn Monroe. She and Mary got along fantastically, and she helped to somewhat fill the void that Phyllis Lindstrom and Rhoda left in Mary's life when they left for San Francisco and New York City, respectively.She made her first appearance at one of Mary Richards' parties. She worked as a window dresser at Hempel's Department Store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, along with Rhoda Morgenstern. Later, she worked for a car rental service, as a Golden Girl, and for Rhoda selling plants.Georgette was devoted to Ted, and they would eventually marry in Mary Richards' apartment. They adopt a child named David (Robbie Rist), and later, she gives birth to a girl named Mary Lou, also in Mary's apartment.Edie Grant (née McKenzie) (Priscilla Morrill) was the wife of Lou Grant. She and Lou had been married for many years and had children, but in the 1971 episode "The Boss Isn't coming to Dinner", marital difficulties lead to Lou and Edie separating. Though they reunite by the end of the episode, they again separate during The Mary Tyler Moore Show's third season, with the marriage ending soon thereafter. In a later season, Edie was remarried to Howard Gordon, and asked Lou and Mary to attend her wedding. Lou held his peace and they parted friends. Even when Lou lived in Los Angeles, he and Edie kept in touch, because their grown daughters remained a common bond between them. In the Lou Grant series, Edie was revealed to be Roman Catholic and of Ukrainian heritage.

Gordon Howard, better known as Gordy, was played by actor John Amos. Gordy was the weather reporter on the nightly WJM-TV newscast. Affable, intelligent and professional, Gordy was the polar opposite of Ted. In 1973, Gordy left WJM, and eventually got a job as host of a talk show in New York City. Ted thought this would be a great chance for him to become a national name, and wheedled Gordy to allow him to join him; but Gordy, although his friend, was also wise to his ways, and gently told him no. After that, Gordy returned to New York and reaped success.The producers introduced Gordy as a weatherman because at the time they felt very few weathermen at the time were black. The original intention had been to make him a sportscaster, but they felt a weatherman would be funny. In several early episodes the character of Gordy remarks, "Why does everyone think I'm the sportscaster?" Amos left the show to do Good Times, but after being fired from Good Times in 1976 he returned for one last guest spot as Gordy in 1977.Bess Lindstrom was portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Phyllis by actress Lisa Gerritsen. Bess is the daughter and only child of Phyllis Lindstrom and her late husband, Lars. Bess helped her mother decorate the new apartment that Mary Richards moved into. She bonded well with Rhoda Morgenstern, to her mother's horror, calling her "Aunt Rhoda" (to which her mother invariably replied, "She's not your aunt"). She also bonded with Mary, who was an old friend of her mother's. She only referred to Phyllis by her first name rather than with a motherly endearment.Bess was more prominently featured on the spin-off show, Phyllis. By this time, Bess was in high school. She and her mother moved to her mother's hometown, San Francisco, after her father died. While Bess's step great-grandmother "Mother Dexter" despised Phyllis, she got along beautifully with Bess. Near the end of the series, Bess married Mark Valenti (Craig Wasson), the nephew of Phyllis' boss, City Supervisor, Carmen Valenti, and were expecting a baby.Florence Meredith, best known as Aunt Flo (actually a distant older cousin of Mary Richards), was played on a recurring basis by actress Eileen Heckart. She was a straight-shooting newspaper columnist, who has won over sixteen journalism awards. She made infrequent visits to Minneapolis and also battled Mary's boss, Lou Grant. Although, they clashed, there was a spark between them and they had a brief fling. Flo later made an appearance on Lou Grant, covering the same political campaign as Tribune reporter Billie Newman.

Martin and Ida Morgenstern were portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda by veteran actors Harold Gould and Nancy Walker, respectively. They were the parents of Rhoda Morgenstern. Ida was portrayed as a stereotypical overbearing Jewish mother, whereas Martin was somewhat calmer and more even-keeled. While Rhoda was living in Minneapolis, Ida occasionally visited. When Rhoda moved back to New York, she initially stayed with her mother in the Bronx. During the run of Rhoda, Martin and Ida separated while Martin went off to find himself and pursue a long-shelved dream of becoming a lounge singer. Toward the end of Rhoda's run, Martin had returned and was attempting to win Ida back, though this remained unresolved when the series ended.

Dottie and Walter Richards are Mary's parents. Dottie was played by veteran actress Nanette Fabray and Walter was played by Bill Quinn. Their first appearance was in 1972, two years after Mary had left her fiancé and moved to Minneapolis. Her parents moved to Minneapolis to be near Mary, though Mary and her mother, in particular, had a bit of trouble learning to relate to one-another, now that Mary was an adult. That season they made a handful of appearances on the series, before disappearing without explanation.

Marie Slaughter was played by actress Joyce Bulifant. Marie was the wife of news writer, Murray Slaughter, and a homemaker. She and Murray had three daughters; they adopted a Vietnamese son toward the end of the series.

Joe Warner was played by actor Ted Bessell. He became Mary's boyfriend during season 6, appearing in two episodes. Prior to appearing on the Mary Tyler Moore show, he was best known for having played Marlo Thomas' boyfriend in the sitcom That Girl.

Bill, Mary's ex-boyfriend. A doctor, whom Mary dated throughout his med school and residency, after which, he broke things off with her. He appeared only in the pilot, in which he attempted to try to reestablish their relationship, and was played by Angus Duncan.

Howard and Paul Arnell, brothers both of whom were played by actor Richard Schaal. Howard appeared in several Season One episodes as an old boyfriend of Mary's. She broke up with him because of his obsession with her, and his overbearing nature. He appeared at Mary's high school reunion, and also attended an impromptu cocktail party Mary and Rhoda hosted. Mary also briefly dated Howard's much more low-key brother Paul, whose company she enjoyed a bit more, but his parents (Mary Jackson and Henry Jones) seemed to favor Howard, and felt that Mary was being disloyal to him by dating Paul.

Andy Rivers was played by actor John Gabriel. Andy was WJM's sports reporter, and was hired by Mary. He appeared in five episodes in Seasons 4 and 5. He occasionally dated Mary.

Dan Whitfield was played by actor Michael Tolan. Dan taught an evening journalism class that Mary and Rhoda enrolled in. He occasionally dated Mary.

Charlene McGuire, a lounge singer who occasionally dated Lou Grant. Charlene was played by Sheree North, and in one episode by Janis Paige.

Armond Lynton, played by Jack De Mave. Armond (along with his wife Nancy) was Rhoda's "date" for an evening get-together with Mary in the second episode of the series. He returned in the second season, recently divorced from Nancy, responding to a chain letter sent by Mary.

Pete was played by actor and cameraman J. Benjamin Chulay A.C.E. (actor). Pete was the blond-haired fellow in the background on certain episodes. He had small speaking appearances in two episodes in 1973 - 1974.

Lou Grant

Louis Grant is a fictional character played by Ed Asner in two television series produced by MTM Enterprises for CBS. The first was The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977), a half-hour light-hearted situation comedy in which the character was the news director at fictional television station WJM-TV. A spinoff series, entitled Lou Grant (1977–1982), was an hour-long serious dramatic series which frequently engaged in social commentary, featuring the character as city editor of the fictional Los Angeles Tribune. Although spin-offs are common on American television, Lou Grant remains one of a very few characters (played by the same actor) to have a leading role on both a popular comedy and a popular dramatic series. (cf. Trapper John McIntyre - played by 2 different actors)

Lou Grant (TV series)

Lou Grant is an American drama television series starring Ed Asner in the title role as a newspaper editor that aired on CBS from September 20, 1977, to September 13, 1982. The series was the third spin-off of the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Lou Grant was created by The Mary Tyler Moore Show co-creators James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, along with Gene Reynolds.

Lou Grant won 13 Emmy Awards, including "Outstanding Drama Series". Asner won the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" in 1978 and 1980. In doing so, he became the first person to win an Emmy Award for both "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" and "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series" for portraying the same character. Lou Grant also won two Golden Globe Awards, a Peabody Award, an Eddie Award, three awards from the Directors Guild of America and two Humanitas Prizes.

MTM Enterprises

MTM Enterprises (later known as MTM Enterprises, Inc.) was an American independent production company established in 1969 by Mary Tyler Moore and her then-husband Grant Tinker to produce The Mary Tyler Moore Show for CBS. The name for the production company was drawn from Moore's initials.MTM produced a number of successful television programs during the 1970s and 1980s. Its famous logo featured an orange cat named Mimsie (who was borrowed from a local shelter and then owned by one of the MTM staff, not by Moore and Tinker, who named the cat) inside a circle surrounded by gold ribbons, parodying how Leo the Lion features in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo. There have been many different variants of this logo.

All of MTM's shows are now owned by The Walt Disney Company through subsidiary 20th Century Fox Television.

The founders died within two months of each other, with Grant Tinker on November 28, 2016, followed by Mary Tyler Moore on January 25, 2017.

Ordinary People

Ordinary People is a 1980 American drama film that marked the directorial debut of actor Robert Redford. The film stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, and Timothy Hutton.

The story concerns the disintegration of an upper-middle class family in Lake Forest, Illinois, following the death of one of their sons in a boating accident. The screenplay by Alvin Sargent was based upon the 1976 novel Ordinary People by Judith Guest.

The film received six Academy Awards nominations and won four: the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director for Redford, Adapted Screenplay for Sargent, and Supporting Actor for Hutton. In addition, it won five Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director (Redford), Best Actress in a Drama (Tyler Moore), Best Supporting Actor (Hutton), and Best Screenplay (Sargent).

Phyllis (TV series)

Phyllis is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from September 8, 1975, to March 13, 1977. Created by Ed. Weinberger and Stan Daniels, it was the second spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (the first being Rhoda). The show starred Cloris Leachman as Phyllis Lindstrom, who was previously Mary Richards' landlady on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

In the new series, Phyllis and her daughter Bess Lindstrom moved from Minneapolis to San Francisco, after the death of her husband, Dr. Lars Lindstrom. It was revealed that San Francisco was Phyllis and Lars' original hometown, prior to their moving to Minneapolis, and that his mother and stepfather still resided there.

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

This is a list of winners and nominees of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Beginning with the 18th Primetime Emmy Awards, leading actresses in comedy have competed alone. However, these comedic performances included actresses from miniseries, telefilms, and guest performers competing against main cast competitors. Such instances are marked below:

# – Indicates a performance in a Miniseries or Television film, prior to the category's creation.

§ – Indicates a performance as a guest performer, prior to the category's creation.


Rhoda is an American sitcom starring Valerie Harper which aired a total of 109 half-hour episodes and one hour-long episode over five seasons from September 9, 1974 to December 9, 1978. The series was a spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in which Harper between the years 1970 and 1974 had played the role of Rhoda Morgenstern, a spunky, weight-conscious, flamboyantly fashioned Jewish neighbor and native New Yorker in the role of Mary Richards' best friend. After four seasons, Rhoda left Minneapolis and returned to her original hometown of New York City. The series was the winner of two Golden Globe Awards and two Emmy Awards.

Rhoda was filmed Friday evenings in front of a live studio audience at CBS Studio Center, Stage 14 in Studio City, Los Angeles, California.

Rhoda Morgenstern

Rhoda Faye Morgenstern, portrayed by Valerie Harper, is a fictional character on the television sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and subsequent spin-off, Rhoda.

The Last Show (The Mary Tyler Moore Show)

"The Last Show" is the 168th episode and series finale of the television sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and was written by Allan Burns, James L. Brooks, Ed Weinberger, Stan Daniels, David Lloyd, and Bob Ellison. Internationally, it was first aired in Canada on CBC Television, March 18, 1977 at 8 p.m. In the U.S., it was one day later on Saturday, March 19, on CBS.

The episode won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series." In executive producer Allan Burns' "Outstanding Comedy Series" acceptance speech at the 29th annual prime-time Emmy Awards, he stated, "We kept putting off writing that last show; we frankly didn't want to do it. I think it said what we wanted it to say. It was poignant, and I believe The Mary Tyler Moore Show was, in the long run, important for many women."

The Mary Tyler Moore Hour

The Mary Tyler Moore Hour is an American sitcom-variety show starring Mary Tyler Moore, Dody Goodman, Michael Keaton and Joyce Van Patten that aired on CBS from March 4, 1979 to June 10, 1979, with a total of 11 episodes spanning over one season.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The Mary Tyler Moore Show (also known simply as Mary Tyler Moore) is an American television sitcom starring Mary Tyler Moore and created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns that originally aired on CBS from September 19, 1970 to March 19, 1977. Moore starred as Mary Richards, an unmarried, independent woman focused on her career as associate producer at the fictional WJM news program in Minneapolis. A central female character who was not married or dependent on a man was a rarity in American television in the early 1970s, leading to numerous publications citing The Mary Tyler Moore Show as groundbreaking television in the era of second-wave feminism. Edward Asner co-starred as Mary's boss Lou Grant, alongside Valerie Harper as her friend and neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern and Cloris Leachman as her landlady Phyllis Lindstrom. Other co-stars throughout the series' run included Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel, John Amos and Betty White.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is best remembered for its realistic and complex characters and storylines, in contrast to the simplistic characters and plots typically seen on broadcast television at that time. It was the subject of consistent critical praise and high ratings during its original run, receiving twenty-nine Primetime Emmy Awards, including for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row (1975–1977), and for which Moore received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series three times. The series also launched three spin-offs: Rhoda (1974–1978), Phyllis (1975–1977), and Lou Grant (1977–1982). In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked The Mary Tyler Moore Show number six on its list of the "101 Best Written TV Series of All Time."

The Mary Tyler Moore Show opening sequence

The Mary Tyler Moore Show opening sequence is an element of the American television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In 1999, Entertainment Weekly picked Mary Richards' hat toss at the end of the sequence as the 1970s' second-greatest television moment. The theme song, "Love Is All Around", was written and performed by Sonny Curtis.

TV specials
See also
Awards for Mary Tyler Moore
TV shows

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