I was sad the learn that television actress Mary Tyler Moore passed away on Wednesday. In my early years, I grew up around the television set. I remember watching the Mary Tyler Moore Show at a very young age. I didn’t really comprehend or understand the innuendo or modern life of what the show entailed. What I did understand was comedy, laughter and a bit of slapstick. Despite the adult-minded humor, Mary Tyler Moore and her cast were able to make me laugh and smile.
Most people will remember Mary Tyler Moore when she appeared on the Dick Van Dyke Show. I was only a year old when that show ended, so it’s safe to say that Moore was already an established television star. Her career continued quietly from Broadway to Motion Picture films. Additionally, her career would oversee many productions under her company name at MTM Enterprises. That success would create such shows as The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, and Hill Street Blues to name a few.
Many people may not be aware of her charity work with animal rights, and she was a devout vegetarian. Moore was a Type 1 diabetic and volunteered, sponsored and donated countless hours and dollars to an organization that greatly affected her life. Moore was not one to take a back seat to women’s issues. In fact, she was the unofficial women’s movement leader of her time. She was the first television actress to wear pants on television despite the fact that a house rule of all females would wear dresses or skirts. Television sponsors were so outraged at her wearing pants that she could only wear pants once a week in studio taping to keep sponsorship of her popular television shows. To me, Moore was an icon of the women’s equality movement. She was the face and voice of women’s concerns using a television platform to get women’s issues addressed.
Moore was also sidekick to the ever popular Ed Asner and Betty White. Her serious pan face on camera could make anyone laugh because she seemed stuck in the middle of idiotic situations relevant to our daily encounters. We knew what she was thinking even before the facial expression which made the laugh even funnier. It’s difficult to recreate that quality form of serious character in an expression that appears real in a comedic role. Perhaps that is what I am trying to say. Mary Tyler Moore was a real person that didn’t force us to laugh. In fact, we laughed along with her. For that, she will be surely missed.