Mary Turned the World on With Her Smile!

American actress and commediene Mary Tyler Moore (as Mary Richards) smiles broadly as she sits at a desk in a scene from ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ (also known as ‘Mary Tyler Moore’), Los Angeles, California, 1970. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

When I was in my early teens I had a Saturday ritual of watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show with my best friend Alice. Even after Alice moved away, I continued to watch because Mary Richards was so inspiring! I wanted to be like her. She played a 30-year old, single, working woman in a Minneapolis newsroom. Although she was warm and full of smiles, she was also strong, capable, and independent, with a winning character. In 2002, in a CNN interview about whether her character Mary on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was a feminist, Moore responded: “She wasn’t aggressive about it, but she surely was … the writers never forgot that. They had her in situations where she had to deal with it.”

Not to mention the fact that it was the 70s and Mary’s fashion style was of-the-moment and in-the-groove. I loved it all: Mary, her friends and colleagues, the story lines, the fashion. It was heady stuff for a teenage girl and each week I kept coming back for more.

It was with great sadness that I heard of Mary Tyler Moore’s passing – I felt like I did all those years ago when the show went off the air – like I had lost a great friend. A strong urge came over me to watch an episode of the show and see Mary again. One of my favorites, “Put on a Happy Face,” aired early in the show’s history. In an unlikely moment for Mary, she is having a series of bad days, just before the television award ceremony called ‘The Teddy’s,’ where she has been nominated for an award. Her hair gets puffy and things get worse from there. Rest in Peace Mary Tyler Moore, and thank you for showing me the way to be a woman in the world – all these years later.

 

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