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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 27, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 04
She made it after all: Mary Tyler Moore was a beloved and inspirational TV icon
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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She made it after all: Mary Tyler Moore was a beloved and inspirational TV icon

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

It never failed that whenever I was baby-sat by my older sister - because our parents were out doing who knows what - it landed on a night when 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' was on, and she watched it religiously. She knew the opening theme by heart, she knew all the storylines and somehow she identified with the title character, even though she had nothing in common with her.

I never really paid attention to the show and it wasn't until years later that I discovered Moore for myself. Our family was fortunate to have premium cable service in the early '80s and Cinemax or HBO (I can't remember which) began running frequent viewings of Ordinary People. I couldn't get enough of it. I'd watch it any opportunity that I could, although I really wasn't supposed to watch it because of the film's R rating. I was so blown away by Moore's performance in that movie, which earned her an Academy Award nomination, that I started to watch reruns of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' when they aired, finding them all later on VHS. This led to watching every episode of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show,' also on VHS.

Years would go by without seeing anything with Moore until I rented Flirting with Disaster circa 1996. That movie was so unexpectedly funny, so off the wall, and Moore was terrific. Sadly, I wasn't familiar with any of her stage work, nor her short-running variety TV show.

This week, Moore became the first major celebrity to leave us in 2017, passing away on January 25 from cardiopulmonary arrest because of pneumonia. She was 80 years old, a multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner, Oscar nominee and a highly respected Hollywood veteran who is credited for being a pioneer in comedy.

But appearing as an independent young female working full-time at a TV news station in the early '70s, Moore's genuine portrayal of the vulnerable, sweet and quietly hysterical Mary Richards became an inspiration to women, especially those aspiring in the field of journalism. Oprah Winfrey was one of Moore's most vocal fans, even breaking down in tears when she finally met her in person on her own talk show. As a tribute, Oprah posted a photo of that memorable meeting between the two on her Twitter page shortly after hearing the news of Moore's passing.

MSNBC news anchor Andrea Mitchell was also a loyal admirer.

'I agree w/Oprah #MaryTylerMoore influenced my career more than any other tv role model. She indeed turned on the world with her smile,' posted Mitchell on her Twitter feed.

Bravo personality Andy Cohen, who interviewed with Seattle Gay News last year, also expressed his sentiments.

'RIP beautiful, upbeat, shining, glorious, wonderful, iconic Mary Tyler Moore,' it read on Cohen's social media accounts.

'Mary Tyler Moore will always be immortalized in Minnesota. My thoughts are with her family and loved ones today,' said US Senator Al Franken, referring to 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show's setting in Minneapolis, which often included exterior images of the city, though it was filmed on a lot in California.

Female broadcasters around the country posted their thoughts, mainly thank-yous, to Moore on social media for motivating them to pursue their careers. Many fellow actors and actresses, from Viola Davis and Michael Keaton to Patricia Heaton and Rachel Bloom, expressed their condolences on Twitter. Even the Humane Society posted a Tweet, honoring Moore's longtime and tireless love for animals.

In 2012, Moore earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild, an organization comprised of her own colleagues.

'You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you' and 'Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave' are two of Moore's most remembered quotes.

She was a survivor, having lived with type 1 diabetes and succumbing to alcohol addiction, and later underwent a delicate brain surgery to remove a benign meningloma. Fictionally, as an ambitious, employed single woman in a male-dominated industry, she faced and overcame the challenges - comically, of course - of being underrated and underappreciated in the workplace.

CBS, which aired 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' for seven seasons, presented a one-hour special on June 26 called 'Love is All Around: dedicated to her.

If you still have not seen Ordinary People, make it a priority. RIP Mary Tyler Moore.

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A mother's quest:

ArtsWest presents luminous staging of Mothers and Sons

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Rufus Wainwright performs at Pizza Klatch fundraiser in Olympia February 4
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February theater openings
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Queen + Adam Lambert coming to Key Arena this summer
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She made it after all: Mary Tyler Moore was a beloved and inspirational TV icon
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AND THE AWARD GOES TO...

Seattle Theater Writers announce the winners of the 2016 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards

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Strawberry Theater Workshop presents an accomplished production of Proof
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Lavish and lovely - The King and I at the Paramount
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2017 QUEER PRESS GRANT NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS
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JoJo interview next week ahead of Seattle show, Sasquatch lineup unveiled
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Compelling 20th Century Women perfectly imperfect
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Metaphorical Dog's Purpose an emotional mutt
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Insanely silly Xander Cage makes a satisfactorily extreme return
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