RIP Mary Tyler Moore…Brilliant Entertainer Broke TV Barriers!

“I’m an experienced woman. I’ve been around…well all right, I might not have been around, but I’ve been…nearby.”


RIP Mary Tyler Moore…

Very sad news today: legendary Actress Mary Tyler Moore passed away today…as TMZ reports, “the TV icon’s long battled diabetes, and she underwent brain surgery in 2011.One source tells us Mary had been on a respirator for more than a week.” She was 80 years old.

This is a tragic loss for all lovers of entertainment – she was one of television’s trailblazers, who helped break down barriers in the business…

LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 10: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore for The Dick Van Dyke Show. Image dated October 10, 1962.  Hollywood, CA. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 10: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore for The Dick Van Dyke Show. Image dated October 10, 1962. Hollywood, CA. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Mary Tyler Moore was one of television’s most influential entertainers.

Moore became a star on The Dick Van Dyke Show, which was a huge smash hit on TV from 1961–1966. She played Laura Petrie, a former dancer turned Westchester homemaker, wife and mother.



Interestingly, at that time in TV, even married couples weren’t allowed to be shown in the same bed!

Moore was a six-time Emmy Award winner, and was the star of one of the most iconic TV series of all time: The Mary Tyler Moore Show.


As well as TV, Moore starred in many stage musicals and movies as well. She showcased a surprisingly serious side in 1980’s Academy Award winning Best Picture “Ordinary People”.

Moore won the Golden Globe for her performance in that film, and was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

donald-sutherland-ordinary-people-cast mary tyler moore


“You Got Spunk…I Hate Spunk!

I fell in love with her when she starred as “spunky” Mary Richards in her self-titled show. This series was one of the greatest in TV history…

It also broke many barriers in TV…


“American audiences won’t tolerate divorce in a series’ lead any more than they will tolerate Jews, people with mustaches, and people who live in New York.”

And with that, TV Execs trashed the concept for one of the greatest TV sitcoms of all time – The Mary Tyler Moore Show!

Read what they said again:

“American audiences won’t tolerate divorce in a series’ lead any more than they will tolerate Jews, people with mustaches, and people who live in New York.”

No divorce. No mustaches. No New Yorkers. NO JEWS. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?


Groundbreaking TV!

It’s almost impossible for young people today to understand the way TV was at the end of the 60’s. Lucky for us, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” broke through ALL of these restrictions to create an iconic TV comedy. Here is the cast that helped change the rules for TV forever!

Best TV casts of all time

And here is the classic line, uttered by News Director Lou Grant, when young Mary Richards came in for a job interview:

“You Got Spunk! (short pause) I Hate Spunk!”

That’s how we were introduced to two of TV’s greatest characters of all time…


Mary Tyler Moore starred in a television series that was unprecedented: a single woman working in the big city! She broke so many rules with this iconic series, which stands the test of time.

What you may not know is that veteran character actor Ed Asner, when he auditioned for the role of grizzled newman Lou Grant, botched that “spunk” line so bad he burst back into the audition room and demanded to try it again!

Mary Tyler Moore Show biography

There is a fantastic book that tells the story of how this show came to be, and how it broke so many rules….



When writer-producers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns dreamed up an edgy show about a divorced woman with a career, you already know how the CBS executives reacted. Now, read how the Producers persevered again all odds!

Now A Book Tells All!

Mary Tyler Moore Show biography

I came across this TERRIFIC new book that takes us inside the creation of this classic TV show – with tons of interviews with all of those involved!

“I’m an experienced woman. I’ve been around…well all right, I might not have been around, but I’ve been…nearby.”


Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s “Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted” tells the stories behind the making of this show, shining a well-deserved light on the groundbreaking female writers who in some cases turned their real-life stories of being a single woman at the dawn of the sexual revolution into scripts…

Treva Silverman

You’ll meet writers like Treva Silverman, and find out how she made it in a male-dominated industry – resulting in the show taking on “modern day female issues” that were never discussed on TV before then!

great female TV characters

Mary, Phyllis And Rhoda!

It was unprecedented for a woman to headline her own show – and now add Phyllis and Rhoda, and you had three of the most important, groundbreaking characters on TV. The book introduces you to creative team behind these indelible characters; the lone woman network executive who cast the legendary ensemble — and advocated for this provocative show — and the colorful cast of actors who made it all work.

Ted Baxter and Lou Grant

James L. Brooks, Grant Tinker, Allan Burns, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Betty White, Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel — they all came together to make a show that changed women’s lives and television itself. “Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted” is the tale of how they did it.

Best TV casts of all time

The First Cast Photo!

This is the first publicity photo shot for the show.

For fun, the cast also did a goofy version of their publicity shot at the same time, which they planned to send Critics who wrote a negative article about the show…supposedly to show they had a sense of humor…but as BAD reviews started coming in, they panicked, and so they destroyed the picture…except for this copy that a secretary kept as a souvenir!

best TV cast

The book is full of great anecdotes and candid comments from everyone, including Mary Tyler Moore, who was afraid the audience would reject her as a divorced woman – and then of course it didn’t matter, because the network demanded she just get “dumped” by a fiance instead!

RIP Mary Tyler Moore Farewell

The Last Episode!

When this show finally went off the air, they did it in one of the greatest finale’s of all time. The entire newsroom bands together to save Anchorman Ted Baxter’s job, only to find out that he was the only one who DIDN’T get fired!

Mary Tyler Moore DVD

“I’m Ted Baxter, The Best Darn Anchorman On TV!”

That is, of course, what Ted said when he testified in court. Why did he say that?

“I had to – I was under oath!”

Just another hilarious line from one of the greatest characters ever created for TV. That’s why the finale hits home so much, because you care about ALL of the cast. The book is full of stories about how insecure Ted Knight was with his character, afraid that people would think he was as stupid as his TV character…

Ted Knight As Ted Baxter

And when Rhoda and Phyllis left for spin-offs, the book also tells the fascinating story about how Betty White was cast as “Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens…so many great anecdotes!

MTM best show on TV

FYI, Betty White was recently given a Guinness Book of World Records award as the longest running TV personality of all time…congrats to her and we will her the best of health – she is in her nineties now…

Mary Tyler Moore DVD

This entire series is available on DVD, and is, without a doubt, one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

RIP to Mary Tyler Moore – an incredibly talented performer who left a wonderful legacy behind…


Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Golden Globes, Great Films, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Talent/Celebrities, TV Show, Uncategorized

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13 replies

  1. As TV audiences have become so fractured I don’t think you’re ever going to see something on this scale again. Like Roots was Event TV, Carson tucking everybody into bed and Mary Tyler meaning so much to a whole generation. The first real career woman on television. I think you’re right John, as time marches on I don’t think people get just how important and landmark that was. That writing too. I watched Mary Tyler Moore for the first time 20 years after it went off the air and it was so fucking good. Yes it was important for a whole generation but it was also a damn near perfect show.

  2. First I had heard about this. I remember her well from the Dick V-D show (as we used to call it in my house)
    and was sorry to hear about her illness that lasted so long.
    In case you didn’t know, ‘Spunk’ means something totally different in the UK, so don’t allow any British re-blogs without editing!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Sad news indeed ………. her star still shines in Tubularsock’s heart! Excellent post.

  4. Oh, Man! I ♥ MTM. RIP, indeed. What a great actress and cultural icon. I still throw up my hat when I’m in a city and spin around. Outstanding tribute, John.


  1. RIP Mary Tyler Moore…Brilliant Entertainer Broke TV Barriers! – johnrieber | Rogues & Vagabonds
  2. Feeling Down? Ted Baxter’s Got The Answer! A Legendary Newsman Offers A New Outlook On Life! – johnrieber

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