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Mary Tyler Moore (born on December 29, 1936) is an American actress and comedian, perhaps best known for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in which she starred as Mary Richards, a 30ish single woman who worked as a news producer at WJM-TV in Minneapolis.
The oldest of three siblings, Moore was born in Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York to George Tyler Moore and Marjorie Hackett.
She moved to California when she was eight years old. She attended Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic school in Brooklyn, and Notre Dame convent school in Hollywood. At the age of 17, she started off with a role as "Happy Hotpoint" on television commercials broadcast during Ozzie and Harriet.
During these commercials she would dance around on the Hotpoint appliances (a General Electric subsidiary). After that, she appeared in several bit parts in movies and on TV shows including Bourbon Street Beat, 77 Sunset Strip, Steve Canyon, and Hawaiian Eye. She auditioned for the role of the older daugher of Danny Thomas for his long-running hit TV show, but was turned down. Much later, Thomas explained that "no daughter of mine could have that (little) nose."
In 1955 she married Dirk Meeker, whom she described as "the boy next door," and was pregnant with her only son Richie within six weeks. Meeker and Moore divorced in 1961, and Richie shot and killed himself in 1980. International headlines announced that Meeker killed himself when playing a game of Russian Roulette in front of two female friends. Authorities later ruled the episode an accident.
Several years later, Moore's sister committed suicide. Her last remaining sibling died of cancer (Moore claimed that she had helped him end his life with an overdose of painkillers), and her mother, who suffered from alcoholism is also deceased, leaving only her father, George Moore, who lives in California.
Moore's first regular television role was on the show Richard Diamond, Private Detective; however, in that show, only her legs were ever shown. Her first important television role in which gained wide recognition was as Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show. When she won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Laura, she said, through her tears, quite incorrectly, "I know this will never happen again!"
Moore married Grant Tinker in 1962, and in 1970 they formed the television production company MTM Enterprises, which created and produced the company's first television series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. MTM Enterprises would later produce popular American sitcoms and drama television series such as Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, and Hill Street Blues. Moore and Tinker divorced in 1981, and she married Dr. Robert Levine in 1983.
Moore has admitted having a drinking problem from the time she starred in the Dick Van Dyke show until after marrying Levine. Her alcoholism peaked in the 1980s, and Moore eventually entered the Betty Ford Clinic for treatment in 1984. She has been sober since then. Her onetime co-star, Dick Van Dyke, also battled alcoholism for many years.
Since her debut in 1961's "X-15", Moore has starred in several films, including Ordinary People for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. More recently she portrayed Sante Kimes in the made-for-TV movie Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes (2001) and reunited with her Dick Van Dyke Show castmates for a reunion "episode."
In August 2005, it was announced that Moore would guest-star as a local newswoman on three episodes of the Fox sitcom That '70s Show. Moore's scenes will be shot on the same soundstage where The Mary Tyler Moore Show was filmed in the 1970s. The episodes will air in early 2006.
In addition to her acting work, Moore is the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. In this role, she has used her fame to help raise funds and raise awareness of diabetes mellitus type 1, from which she suffers severely, almost losing her vision and at least one limb to the disease, but fortunately she was saved from blindness and amputation, with the help of her doctor husband who takes good care of her and helps her control her diabetes.
Moore is a vegetarian and has worked for animal rights for many years. On the subject of fur, she has said, "Behind every beautiful fur, there is a story. It is a bloody, barbaric story."
In early May 2001, Moore was present as cable TV network TV Land dedicated a statue in downtown Minneapolis to the television character she made famous on Mary Tyler Moore. The statue is in front of the Dayton's (now Marshall Field's) department store, near the corner of 7th Street and Nicollet Mall. It depicts the well-known moment in the show's opening credits where Mary joyfully throws her Tam o'shanter cap up in the air, in a freeze-frame at the end of the montage.
Fans have noted that the statue takes a couple of liberties with that opening scene, for both practical and artistic reasons. One is that where Mary actually tossed the cap was in the crosswalk in the middle of the street, clearly not the best location for a statue. The other is that the actual release point of the cap was around her waist, whereas the statue has her hand high overhead, barely touching the cap, as if she were catching it instead of tossing it.
She maintains an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This is the now-famous building where the red-tailed hawk known as Pale Male built a nest, and where Moore had an altercation with co-resident Paula Zahn over Zahn's support for the destruction of the hawk's nest on the building.
Mary Tyler Moore is referenced in the hit song Buddy Holly by Weezer on their self-titled debut album. Her name pops up in the chorus in the lines, "I look just like Buddy Holly/And you're Mary Tyler Moore." Moore sent the members of Weezer personalized autographed photos in return.
Richard Diamond, Private Detective (cast member in 1959)
The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966)
Run a Crooked Mile (1969)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
Mary (1978) (canceled after 3 episodes)
First, You Cry (1978)
The Mary Tyler Moore Hour (1979) (canceled after 3 months)
Finnegan Begin Again (1985)
Annie McGuire (1988) (canceled after 3 months)
The Last Best Year (1990)
Thanksgiving Day (1990)
Stolen Babies (1993)
New York News (1995) (canceled after 3 months)
Stolen Memories: Secrets from the Rose Garden (1996)
Good as Gold (2000)
Mary and Rhoda (2000) (also executive producer)
Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Gimes (2001) (also executive producer)
Miss Lettie and Me (2002)
The Gin Game (2003)
The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited (2004)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
What's So Bad About Feeling Good? (1968)
Don't Just Stand There! (1968)
Change of Habit (1969)
Ordinary People (1980)
Six Weeks (1982)
Just Between Friends (1986)
Flirting with Disaster (1996)
The Blue Arrow (1996) (voice)
Keys to Tulsa (1997)
Reno Finds Her Mom (1998) (documentary)
Labor Pains (2000)
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