Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore

It's hard for young people today to understand the immense cultural significance of Mary Tyler Moore who just died at age 80.  That's because, back in the Seventies, there were very few media outlets. Shows that appeared on the three TV networks were watched by everyone and became central parts of our cultural conversation.

Mary Tyler Moore exemplified this. She was seen as a role model for women, initially with her portrayal as an attractive, helpful housewife on The Dick Van Dyke Show and later as an independent single gal making a living in a Minneapolis newsroom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Those roles mirrored the lives of millions of American women. Mary pushed boundaries for women by perkily offering opinions at times when women were expected to remain quiet; she also broke free of the almost-mandatory dresses worn by female TV characters when she donned attractive capri pants.

Mary was capable of even more. She shocked viewers with a stunningly unflattering role in the 1980 movie "Ordinary People," for which she won a Golden Globe. Mary also worked behind the scenes as a producer and her company (MTM Enterprises) made several popular shows. Mary's life was darker than many assume; both she and her mother struggled with alcoholism.

I'm glad she had a long life and wish her a fond farewell.

What are your memories of Mary's work?


  1. Loved her. Watched her as Laura Petrie when I was in elementary school. Watched very little TV when I was in high school, but MTM was appointment viewing. So sad to learn of her passing.

  2. I grew up watching reruns of the Dick Van Dyke Show and loved her as Laura. I always wondered about the two twin beds, though! I never really watched the Mary Tyler Moore Show - I was too young for it. But I loved her. She had a great long life, and touched so many lives. Peace to her.

  3. I vaguely remember bits of the Mary Tyler Moore show. Mostly the opening scene.

    I do remember her from Ordinary People.



  4. I have never heard of her, but sad to hear she struggled with alcoholism. I guess it is something really difficult to fight off since it is so easily available everywhere and we live in a world where you are sometimes even forced to drink, at social occasions.


    1. Yes, alcohol is so easy to get addicted to. When I was growing up, drinking was socially encouraged and drinking too much wasn't seen as a problem. I sorry you aren't familiar with Mary. If you can, see some old episodes of The MTM Show. You'll like them.

  5. I actually didn't grow up on Mary Tyler Moore. My mom raised me on vintage SNL: the Killer Bees, Land Shark, Roseanne Rosannadanna, The Widettes. But still...80 is far too young. My grandmother just turned 90!

  6. I used to watch the Oprah Show and know how important Mary was to her. That was my first introduction as I grew up in Papua New Guinea with no TV...gasp! xo Jazzy Jack

  7. I'm not really familiar with her, I may have seen a few episodes of something with her and a feisty older lady... But I was so small then that I may mix it up with something else. My TV hero(ine)s were the Carlie's Angels...

  8. I don't know her (too young, too different country) but she seams a great person! and her style's lovely. thanks for sharing.

  9. Shoot, my comment disappeared!

    I was just saying that I'm (sadly) not as familiar with MTM's work... but it seems she was a true role model for women everywhere, and a trailblazer of her time. Will have to look for some of her work. Thanks for sharing, my sweet--hope you have a great weekend!!


  10. I grew up watching the Dick Van Dyke show and the Mary Tyler Moore show on TV Land -they were two of my faves!

  11. Marilee (Judy) GramithJanuary 27, 2017 at 11:30 PM

    I grew up with both shows and remember watching "Mary Richards" during my college years. She broke some ground with that big sincere smile!! She even influenced an appreciation of a "dark side" as just another part of being human. A life fully lived. She is missed.

  12. When my hubby and i were first dating we watched her nightly. I have always admired her, and appreciate how she has impacted women's lives.
    I did not know about the alcohol problem; greta talent sometimes has so difficult thing that go with.. But she lived long and well, hats off!
    xx, Elle