This edition is to honor a true television icon, Mary Tyler Moore, as a gifted actress, an industry pioneer and an activist. She truly could turn the world on with her smile! As I did the research for this blog, I found dozens of photos of Mary’s beautiful smile. It was as if her smile did not fade or age. Mary was born on December 29, 1936 in Brooklyn, NY. She died on January 25, 2017, at 80 years young.
From 1961-1966, Mary played the character of Laura, the stylish wife of Rob Petrie in the comedy “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” She won two Emmy Awards for this series. She played a funny version of the traditional American TV housewife.
From 1970-1977, Mary’s production company MTM Enterprises produced “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Her TV character, Mary Richards, was the first women as the lead character in a TV series. She played the first leading lady who was single and focused on a having a successful career. Mary won three Emmy Awards in this role. During season 5 in episode 11, Mary became one of the first women to direct a TV show.
This series was one of the first to openly discuss feminine issues such as: women working in male dominated industries, equal pay for women, a woman’s sexuality, using birth control pills and even the walk of shame. Mary showed us that it was OK for a woman to want take the path of a successful career and to delay having a family.
I will never forget the image of the final scene of show’s opening – where she is throwing the blue hat into the air as if she is celebrating that she has made it. In 2002, a statue of her throwing the hat was unveiled in downtown Minneapolis.
The women’s liberation movement was in full swing when I was a teenager. Mary was an iconic symbol of this movement. I loved watching these women and wondering what my life would become because of their efforts.
My musical theme song was “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy mostly for the “You can bend but never break me, ’cause it only serves to make me, more determined to achieve my final goal, and I come back even stronger” verse. My television theme song was “Love Is All Around You” by Sonny Curtis well-known as the open for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” My favorite verse is “Love is all around, no need to waste it, you can have the town, why don’t you take it, you’re gonna make it after all.” My favorite line from the show was when Producer Lou Grant said “you have spunk, I hate spunk.” I can still see her eyes sparkle and her big beautiful smile. I love spunk!!!
When I entered the wonderful world of sports television at 19, I wanted to be just like the TV character Mary Richards. Who am I kidding, I still want to be her! I wanted to be a successful producer technician and producer. I am so thankful to have a 30+ year career in sports production and programming. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to help pave the way for other women to succeed in an industry that I truly love.
Mary was smart, talented, successful, down-to-earth and independent. She was doing very well in a man’s world. She had a unique way of embracing the differences of how women and men work. She was a true pioneer and an icon! I will continue to honor Mary Tyler Moore and Mary Richards in my actions as a business woman and a mentor. Thank you for the memories, and thank you being such an inspiration to millions!
Please sing it with me – “Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Well it’s you girl, and you should know it, With each glance and every little movement you show it. … You’re gonna make it after all. You’re gonna make it after all.”
How did Mary Tyler Moore inspire you? How do you inspire others?
…… And life goes on.