Mary Tyler Moore (Actress/Charity Activist)
Mary Tyler Moore (born December 29, 1936) is an American actress, primarily known for her roles in television sitcoms.
Moore is best known for The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977), in which she starred as Mary Richards, a 30-something single woman who worked as a local news producer in Minneapolis, and for her earlier role as Laura Petrie (Dick Van Dyke's wife) on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966).
She also appeared in a number of films, most notably 1980's Ordinary People, in which she played a role that was the polar opposite of the television characters she had portrayed, and for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Moore has also been active in charity work and various political causes, particularly on behalf of Animal rights and Diabetes mellitus type 1.
At the age of 17, Moore aspired to be a dancer. She started her career as "Happy Hotpoint", a tiny elf dancing on Hotpoint appliances in TV commercials during the 1950s series Ozzie and Harriet. She filmed 39 TV commercials in five days, ultimately earning about $6,000 from her first job. Her time as "Happy Hotpoint" ended when it became difficult to conceal her pregnancy in the dancing elf costume.
Moore modelled 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. Much later, Thomas explained that "no daughter of mine could have that [little] nose."
Her first regular television role was as a mysterious and glamorous telephone receptionist on Richard Diamond, Private Detective; to add to the mystique, only her voice was heard and her shapely legs appeared on camera. About this time, she guest starred on John Cassavetes's NBC detective series Johnny Staccato. In 1960, she guest starred in two episodes, "The O'Mara's Ladies" and "All The O'Mara's Horses", of the William Bendix-Doug McClure NBC western series, Overland Trail. Several months later, she appeared in the first episode, entitled "One Blonde Too Many", of NBC one-season The Tab Hunter Show, a sitcom starring the former teen idol as a bachelor cartoonist.
In 1961, Moore appeared in several bit parts in movies and on television, including Bourbon Street Beat, 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside Six, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Steve Canyon, Hawaiian Eye, and Lock Up.
In 1961, Carl Reiner cast her in The Dick Van Dyke Show, an acclaimed weekly series based on Reiner's own life and career as a writer for Sid Caesar's television variety show, telling the cast from the outset that it would run no more than five years. The show was produced by Danny Thomas's company, and Thomas himself recommended her. He remembered Mary as "the girl with three names" whom he had turned down earlier.
Moore's energetic comic performances as Van Dyke's character's wife, begun at age 24 (hence she was 11 years Van Dyke's junior), made both the actress and her signature tight capri pants extremely popular, and she became internationally famous. When she won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Laura Petrie, she said, "I know this will never happen again."
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 was a half-hour newsroom sitcom featuring Ed Asner as her gruff boss Lou Grant, a character that would later be spun off into an hour-long dramatic series. The premise of the single working woman's life, alternating during the program between work and home, became a television staple that would often be used in the future.
After six years of ratings in the top 20, the show slipped to number #39 during its seventh season. Producers argued for its cancellation because of its falling ratings, afraid that the show's legacy might be damaged if it were renewed for another season. To the surprise of the entire cast including Mary Tyler Moore herself, it was announced that they would soon be filming their final episode. After the announcement, the series finished strongly and the final show was the most watched show during the week it aired. The series had become a touchpoint of the Women's Movement because it was one of the first to show, in a serious way, an independent working woman.
After a brief respite, Moore threw herself into a completely different genre. She attempted two failed variety series in a row: Mary, which featured David Letterman, Michael Keaton, Swoosie Kurtz and Dick Shawn in the supporting cast and lasted three episodes, which was re-tooled as The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, a backstage show within a show, with Mary portraying a TV star putting on a variety show.
To arouse curiosity and nostalgic feelings, Dick Van Dyke appeared as her guest, but the program was canceled within three months. About this time, she also made a one-off musical/variety special for CBS, titled Mary's Incredible Dream, which featured John Ritter, among others. It did poorly in the ratings and, according to Moore, was never repeated and will likely never be aired again because of legal problems surrounding the show.
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.
She also starred in the short-lived "warmedy", Annie McGuire, in 1988.
In the mid-1990s, she had a cameo and a guest starring role as herself on two episodes of Ellen. She subsequently 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. In August 2005, 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. Moore's scenes were shot on the same soundstage where The Mary Tyler Moore Show was filmed in the 1970s.
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, which she has, almost losing her vision and at least one limb to the disease.
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.
She also adopted a Golden Retriever puppy from Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue in Hudson, Massachusetts. She also is an animal rights activist and promoted her cause on the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom Ellen. She 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."
She is also a co-founder of Broadway Barks, an annual animal adopt-a-thon held in New York City. Moore and friend Bernadette Peters work to make New York City a no-kill city and to promote adopting animals from shelters.
In honor of her father, George Tyler Moore, who was a life-long 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 (ca. 1795), which is named in honor of her great-great-great-grandfather, who owned the structure from 1815–52. Moore also contributed to the renovation of the house used as headquarters during 1861–1862 by 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.
Moore supports embryonic stem cell research. When President George W. Bush announced that he would veto the Senate's bill supporting the research, she said, "This is an intelligent human being with a heart, and I don't see how much longer he can deny those aspects of himself."
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