Five iconic moments from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

Willard RiveraJan 27, 2017

Perhaps the most poignant scene is when the priest urges Richards to laugh, as Chuckles "lived to make people happy", and she can't help but dissolve into tears. "Mary Tyler Moore first gave me the idea that you can own your own show and produce it".

She made Oprah cry on television as she inspired not only Winfrey but legions of us all to be fearless and embrace humor and kindness. In a January 26 Today show interview, Candice Bergen asserted her Emmy-winning sitcom Murphy Brown, about an investigative journalist and news anchor, wouldn't have existed without Moore.

Mary Richards was not TV's first working woman, or its first woman on her own.

Even if you never sat through an entire episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (and that's a pity), the image of an empowered woman tossing her hat into the air, ready to take on the world, surely feels familiar. But before Mary, if you saw a woman without a partner at the center of a TV comedy, she was probably a widow, like Diahann Carroll's single mom on Julia or Lucille Ball on the show she did after I Love Lucy, which was, perhaps unsurprisingly, called The Lucy Show. Moore herself paved the way for the success of others, spawning shows for two characters from her groundbreaking sitcom: Rhoda, starring Valerie Harper and Phyllis, starring Cloris Leachman. Moore's death at the age of 80 has arrived in our lives at a time when everything Moore stood as our most convincing avatar-female liberation, equality, and autonomy-seems to be imperiled. "She wasn't hard hitting like Lucille Ball, but she still had that ability to accept or dismiss and I value her for that". "If I could see her one last time I'd hold her in my arms and say, 'We love you'". Moore was cast as Laura Petrie, the wife of Van Dyke's character Rob on The Dick Van Dyke Show, when she was just 23 years old.

Van Dyke also expressed gratitude to Moore's husband, Dr. Robert Levine, for personally calling to inform him of his friend's declining health, days before her death.

"I believed, and still do, that women have a very major role to play as mothers", said Moore. She's been on television my whole life. "She was THE BEST!" tweeted Van Dyke. "After that I said, 'She's a little young for me.' I got to be on hand and watch her grow into the talent she became".

"My first question was, 'Can this girl do comedy?"

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