From her start on The Dick Van Dyke Show to her meteoric rise to fame and the lasting impact that she made on the entertainment industry. Mary Tyler Moore was without a doubt one of the most influential public figures of the 20th century. And not only that, but she was also a powerful force of change at a time when society was in a rapid state of flux. She’s a force to be reckoned with. But for all of those years that Mary Tyler Moore played a fictionalized version of herself. There was so much more happening behind the scenes that the vast majority of people weren’t privy to.
For one thing, did you know that her legs were famous long before she ever was? Or you aware of the tremendous amount of heartbreak and turmoil that she experienced from the countless personal tragedies that she was forced to deal with? In this facts-packed video, we’re going to be digging below the surface a bit to discover a side of Mary Tyler Moore that you probably aren’t that familiar with. And not only that, but we’re also going to touch on what led her hit show The Mary Tyler Moore show to come to an end. When it did even though it likely could have gone on for a few more seasons and still perform quite well in the ratings. So let’s go ahead and dive on in, shall we? Join Facts Verse to learn more about the The Tragedy That Ended the Mary Tyler Moore Show for Good.
Moore Had A Leg Up On Her Competition
Before she became a household name after co-starring on the Dick Van Dyke Show, Moore’s career in the limelight began as ‘Happy Hotpoint’. A tiny little elf that danced on top of Hotpoint branded appliances for ads that ran during the 1950s TV series Ozzie and Harriet. Her debut as a proper actress however was in 1959 when she portrayed the mysterious. And glamorous secretary in six episodes of Richard Diamond, Private Detective.
But you might not recall seeing her face in that show. Because they actually filmed just legs for one episode and cut out her face in another. All of which was to keep the mystery, well, mysterious. Moore also had another little side gig going at the time as a model for record covers. Perhaps you recall her gracing the cover of the Cha Cha Cha LP.
Hey, we know that you’re probably pretty captivated watching this video so far. So we’ll keep this brief, but if you don’t mind take a moment to show us a little support by giving this video a like and by subscribing to Facts Verse if you haven’t already. And don’t go anywhere just yet. Stay tuned to find out what dark tragedies and struggles Moore had to contend with in her personal life. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the The Tragedy That Ended the Mary Tyler Moore Show for Good.
An Unforgettable Name
Moore had tried out for one of the leading female roles on The Danny Thomas Show, but she didn’t make the cut. Even so, she made an unforgettable impression at her audition, and lucky for her. She had a very memorable name as well. Danny Thomas couldn’t get her name out of his head. There was just something so intriguing about that mesmerizing woman with three names. And he referred to her as exactly that when he recommended her to his buddy Dick Van Dyke when he was looking to fill the role of the female lead in his new sitcom.
She Wasn’t Afraid To Wear The Pants
The world was a very different place back in the early 60s when Moore beginning to make a name for herself. Much of America, in particular, was still hanging on to fairly old-school social norms. Including the notion that women should wear dresses to work, school, or even at home. Pants were definitely a no-no for the ‘fairer sex’. That’s a fashion choice reserved purely for the ‘man of the house’.
So not surprisingly, some early visions of what Laura Petrie should look like had her decked out in traditional mom attire modeled after June Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver – dress, apron, and all. But when Moore got her foot in the door and started having a bit more pull. She refused to let her character depicted that way.
The country in the middle of experiencing a great deal of social and cultural change and Moore demanded that Laura allowed to wear pants. She insisted that her vision was a truer representation of an American housewife. She based this conviction on actual friends of hers and at the end of the day, she got her way. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the The Tragedy That Ended the Mary Tyler Moore Show for Good.
The Little Green Dress
In the season five episode ‘You Try to Be a Nice Guy’. Moore wore a little green dress that ended up becoming somewhat iconic. It was a big deal at the time. Those revealing holes showed audiences a whole lot more skin than they used to seeing on primetime TV.
The dress was previously worn by a lady of the night named Sherry, played by Barbara Colby, whom we first met in the episode ‘Will Mary Richards Go To Jail?’. Colby’s character was such a hit with viewers. That the show’s producers brought her back on as an upright citizen just trying her best to obey the terms of her parole. Her new lot in life was as a fashion designer, and thus the ‘green beast’ was born.
Unfortunately, Colby met a pretty awful end. She had just landed a co-starring role in the spin-off series Phyllis and had filmed three episodes when on July 24, 1975. A van pulled up behind her while she and a friend were leaving an acting class in Venice, California. And shot the two without warning. Colby died at the scene before paramedics could arrive and her friend only lived long enough to describe the assailants before she too passed away. Frustratingly, the case never solved. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the The Tragedy That Ended the Mary Tyler Moore Show for Good.
Mary Richards originally envisioned as a very different kind of character than the one she inevitably became. But of course, Moore the strong, independent woman that she made sure that her voice taken into consideration when the series developed. Initially, however, Mary pictured as being a 30-year-old divorcee who moved out on her own after her husband left her.
But CBS not impressed by that premise and subsequently swooped in and shut that idea down. They insisted that viewers wouldn’t want to welcome a divorced woman. People of a different religious faiths, New Yorkers, or dudes with mustaches into their living rooms. Oh, how the times have changed. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the The Tragedy That Ended the Mary Tyler Moore Show for Good.
Breaking All Kinds Of Records
It can’t overstated how much Mary Tyler Moore made history. She was the woman behind the scenes that broke countless records and shattered the metaphorical glass ceiling. Mary Richards gave audiences one of their first looks at a televised, successful, and independent woman.
The series won 29 Emmy Awards and Moore herself won 3 Lead Actress Emmys, an Actress of the Year honor. In addition to nominated the other years that she didn’t take home the coveted honor. Candice Bergen, who showered with her fair share of accolades and honors as well once said that there wouldn’t have been ‘Murphy Brown’ without The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Family Tragedies And Health Problems
More than anything, Moore loved to bring joy to the hearts of others. In fact, she once said that the greatest blessing that she ever received was having a job that was centered around humor. But amid all of the laughs, she suffered some major heartbreak.
Moore’s sister Elizabeth died when she was just 21 from an overdose of painkillers and alcohol. Her relationship with her brother was equally painful as well. John Moore, who was seven years younger than Mary. And was suffering from kidney cancer once asked his sister to help him commit suicide with ice cream laced with drugs. The suicide attempt failed and sadly, John died just three months later at the age of 47.
Moore’s private battles behind the scenes were also quite draining on her spirit. Alcohol played a huge role in many of her personal struggles. Moore’s mother was a morbid alcoholic who wouldn’t stop killing herself with the bottle even when Mary would beg her to put it down. At the same time, Moore’s father never showed her the love or affection that she so desperately craved as a child. As an adult, Moore too turned to the bottle to ease her worries and suppress her pain. And just like that, she became what she always hated when she was young; an absentee mom.
At 33, Moore suffered a miscarriage, but that wasn’t her only medical worry. When the doctors tested her blood sugar, it was at 750 instead of the normal 80 to 120. Moore was then diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. But that didn’t stop her from drinking or neglecting her son, Robert.
Following in his mother and grandmother’s footsteps, Robert too became an addict. In 1980, Moore received the phone call that no mother ever wants to receive. Her son had accidentally shot himself and had died. But that was the moment that motivated her to start putting her life back together. She sobered up after checking herself into The Betty Ford Clinic. The remainder of her life wasn’t necessarily sunshine and daydreams. But she had a newfound determination to not let her vices and resentments rob her of having a life worth living.
Better Quit While You’re Ahead
The Mary Tyler Moore Shows co-creator Allan Burns once said that after doing the series for seven successful years, it was better to quit while they were ahead. Everyone involved in the series deeply loved being a part of it. Mary was one of the most enthusiastic participants of course. And she was one of the last ones to sign on to the idea of shutting the series down because she so deeply loved the process. The show itself, its cast, and all of the staff that helped make it happen. It was a tough time for everyone, but especially for her.
Love was in the air on the evening of The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s highly anticipated final episode. The finale had it all. It featured guest stars Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman returning one last time from their respective spin-off series. Rhoda and Phyllis, to say their goodbyes, an emotional final send-off with a classic group hug. A bittersweet rendition of ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’, and an extraordinary curtain call. And of course, there was one last comedic twist. When WJM-TV’s new owner wanted to make some big changes, instead of canning the dimwitted anchor Ted Baxter. He fired the rest of the staff instead, Mary included.
The audience at the taping – as well as all of the cast and crew – were in tears. Nobody wanted this glorious group of people to no longer be together. Fans of the show had formed deep emotional relationships with the characters that they welcomed into their living rooms every week for the last seven years. But at least they given a fitting farewell. One that is still looked back on as the gold standard of series finales.
The legacy of the series lives on to the present day. The writers of ‘Friends’ modeled their finale after it and Tina Fey once shared that she fashioned the ‘30 Rock’ finale after the workplace camaraderie featured In the Mary Tyler Moore Show send-off. When Mary Tyler Moore passed away in January of 2017. The world mourned the loss of the first feminist TV icon, but she, nor the show that she helped breathe life into, won’t soon be forgotten.
Well, that’s about all the time we’ve got left for this video, but hopefully, you’ve enjoyed going on this little journey with us down memory lane. Mary Tyler Moore was the kind of star that only comes around once in a blue moon, but the impact that she made on the entertainment industry was almost indescribable.
What was your favorite episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show? Let us know in the comments section below. And before you go, take a moment to show us a little support by giving this video a like and by subscribing to Facts Verse if you haven’t already. Tap the bell icon to turn on notifications so you can be among some of the first lucky souls to see all of our upcoming new videos.