Actress. Activist. Icon. Those words define Mary Tyler Moore, who passed away at 80.
Moore's first brush with fame came as Happy Hotpoint in a series of ads for Hotpoint appliances in the 50's. She was also one of two anonymous actresses (Roxanne Brooks was the other) who essayed the role of Sam, the mysterious "secretary", if you will, to David Janssen in Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Moore lost the part when it got out that she was on the show, something Four Star, the show's producer, didn't want known.
And, then, there was The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Moore was cast as perky, adorable Laura Petrie, whose husband, Rob (Van Dyke) was a comedy writer for Alan Brady (Carl Reiner). In a way, the series was 2 shows in one over the course of its 5 seasons (1961-6).
By 1970, Moore made her return, not only starring in her own self-titled sitcom, but the production company was hers, too, in conjunction with her second husband, Grant Tinker, who later became president of NBC. Seven years and several Emmy awards later, the series ended, and Moore was unable to land another hit series.
Let's go back to season 1 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Ignore the episode title on the screen. The poster changed the titles to get around the copyright police. The above episode is "Divorce Isn't Everything".
Mary Tyler Moore was immortalized in the lyrics to Weezer's 1994 hit, "Buddy Holly". She also appeared in films as diverse as "Change of Habit" (w/Elvis Presley) and "Ordinary People". Like one of her co-stars, Betty White, she was also an animal rights activist, which became her primary gig in later years. Her last TV role was guest starring opposite White on Hot in Cleveland.
Rest in peace, Mary.