The Rich Career of Mary Tyler Moore

Filed under: Mary Tyler Moore - 15 May 2012  | Spread the word !

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Mary Tyler Moore was born in Brooklyn, on December 29 1939, though Moore’s family relocated to California when she was eight. Her childhood was troubled due in part to her mother’s alcoholism.  The oldest of three siblings, she attended a Catholic high school and married upon her graduation in 1995. Her only child, Richie was born soon after. A dancer at first, Moore’s first break in show business was in 1955, as a dancing kitchen appliance Happy Hotpoint, the Hotpoint Appliance elf, in commercials generally broadcast during the popular TV program The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. She then shifted from dancing to acting, and work soon came, at first a number of guest roles on TV series, but eventually a recurring role as Sam, Richard Diamond’s sultry answering service girl on Richard Diamond – Private Detective, her performance being particularly notorious because her legs were shown instead of her face.

Although those early roles often took advantage of her willowy charms, Moore’s career soon took a more substantive turn as she was cast in two of the most highly regarded comedies in television history, which would air first run for most of the Sixties and Seventies. In the first of these, The Dick van Dyke Show, Moore played Laura Petrie the charmingly loopy wife of Dick van Dyke. The show became famous for its very clever writing and terrific comic first husband, and later married ad man.

After the end of the Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Tyler Moore focused on movie making, co-starring in five between the need of the show and the start of Mary Tyler Moore Show including Thoroughly Modern Mills, in which she plays a ditsy aspiring actress and an inane Elvis Presley vehicle Change of Habit, in which she plays a nun to be and love interest for Presley.

Widely acknowledged as being much tougher and more high strung than her iconic image image would suggest, Mary Tyler Moore has had a life with more than the normal share of ups and downs. Both of her siblings predeceased her, her sister Elizabeth of a rug overdose in 1978 and her brother of cancer after a failed attempt at assisted suicide. She was also involved in politics and was described more as a liberal or moderate liberal. In the later years of her career, she was awarded with a prize for her entire career. 

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