Multiple Emmy Award-winning actress and comedienne Mary Tyler Moore rose to stardom at age 25 playing Laura Petrie, the wife of star Dick Van Dyke, on the hit CBS sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1961-1966), from which she won her first two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. The Brooklyn-born actress cemented her reputation as a sitcom star with the CBS highly successful “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which ran from 1970-1977. As single woman Mary Richards, she picked up her next four Emmy Awards and an additional Golden Globe Award.
Moore went on to establish a successful career as a dramatic actress. She took home Emmy nominations for her work in the TV films “First You Cry” (1978), “Heartsounds” (1984) and “Gore Vidal's Lincoln” (1988), and a CableACE nomination for “Finnegan Begin Again” (1985). She also picked up a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Donald Sutherland's reserved wife in Robert Redford's “Ordinary People” (1980). After failing a return to the sitcom realm with “Mary” (1985-1986) and “Annie McGuire” (1988), Moore proved she was a capable serious actress in the TV film “Stolen Babies” (1993), in which she took home her seventh Emmy Award.
Moore's more recent credits include “Flirting With Disaster” (1996), “Mary and Rhoda” (2000, TV), “Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes” (2001, TV), “Miss Lettie and Me” (2002, TV) and “The Gin Game” (2003). Moviegoers can see her in the upcoming film “Against the Current” (2008).
Moore was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992 thanks to her television work.
“Behind every beautiful fur, there is a story. It is a bloody, barbaric story.” Mary Tyler Moore
A strong animal activist, Moore adopted a Golden Retriever puppy from Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue in Hudson, Massachusetts, and co-founded Broadway Barks, an annual animal adopt-a-thon held in New York City. The vegetarian actress also participated in a number of other charities, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, in which she serves as its international chairman.
Moore has been married three times. She and first husband Dick Meeker, whom she was married to from 1955 to 1961, had a son, Richard Meeker Jr., who shot and killed himself in what was officially decreed an accident in 1980. She was married to second husband and business partner Grant Tinker from 1962 to 1981. Currently, she is the wife of Dr. Robert Levine.
Childhood and Family:
Mary Tyler Moore was born on December 29, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York, to George Tyler Moore and wife Marjorie Hackett. As a youngster, she was forced to deal with her mother's dependency on alcohol.
Mary was educated at Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic School in Brooklyn before moving to California with her parents when she was eight years old. She went on to attend St. Ambrose School Los Angeles on Fairfax and the prestigious Immaculate Heart High School in Hollywood, California. An aspiring dancer, the 17-year-old had the chance to fulfill her childhood dreams when she appeared as a dancing elf in TV commercials for Hotpoint Appliances. Later, she quit dancing to pursue an acting career.
At age 18, on August 25, 1955, Mary married Dick Meeker. Her only son, Richard Meeker Jr., was born shortly thereafter. The couple divorced in 1961. Mary then married NBC executive Grant Tinker on June 1, 1962, and in 1969, they founded a TV production company called “MTM Enterprises.” They divorced in 1981 and sold the company nine years later in 1990. Mary married her present husband, Dr. Robert Levine, on November 23, 1983. She first met him when she took her mother to the hospital and he was a doctor there.
The eldest of three children, Mary had a sister, Elizabeth Moore (born 1957), who died in 1978 at age 21 of a drug and alcohol overdose. His brother, John Hackett Moore (born in 1945), died in 1992 in Los Angeles from cancer. In between, she lost his only son, Richard, who passed away in 1980 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Originally trained as a dancer, Mary Tyler Moore made her professional debut when she appeared as a dancing elf in commercials for Hotpoint Appliances. Four years later, she received an unaccredited part as a dance hall girl in the Western movie “Once Upon a Horse...” (1958) and followed it up with guest appearances in TV series like “Steve Canyon,” “Bronco” and “Bourbon Street Beat” (all 1959), “77 Sunset Strip” (1959-1960), “Bachelor Father” (1960) and “Hawaiian Eye” (1960-1961).Her first TV series debut was as Sam the switchboard operator on “Richard Diamond, Private Detective” (1959), in which only her extraordinary legs were seen. Feeling unchallenged, she left the show after three months.
It was not until 1961 that Moore's career took flight. She was cast in the role of Laura Petrie on the CBS comedy series “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” opposite Dick Van Dyke. For her fine efforts, she was handed two Emmys for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series and a Golden Globe for Best TV Star - Female. Moore was in the hit show from its debut in October 1961 until its cancellation in 1966.
Two months after she began her long-running gig on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” Moore won a supporting role in Richard Donner's “X-15” (1961), starring David McLean and Charles Bronson. In 1967, a year after she debuted on Broadway with the ill-fated musical adaptation of “Breakfast at Tiffany's,” opposite Richard Chamberlain, she scored her first important role in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” a comedy/musical costarring Julie Andrews and James Fox and directed by George Roy Hill. It was followed by roles in “What's So Bad About Feeling Good” (1968, with George Peppard), the based-on-novel “Don't Just Stand There” (1968, with Robert Wagner), “Change of Habit” (1969, with Elvis Presley) and “Run a Crooked Mile” (1969, NBC), which marked Moore's TV film debut.
Moore gained a career boost when she was reunited with Dick Van Dyke for a CBS TV special in 1969 called “Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman.” Led by the success of the show, she was given her own show that went on to become one of the most well-liked sitcoms of the 70s. “Mary Tyler Moore,” the first series created and produced by MTM Enterprises, a production company owned by Moore and then husband Grant Tinker, debuted on September 19, 1970, and enjoyed commercial and critical success throughout its seven-season run. Moore won a Golden Globe for Best TV Actress – Musical/Comedy and four Emmys in the categories of Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series, Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Actress of the Year- Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Moore reprised her coveted role in the spin-off shows “Rhoda” (6 episodes, 1974-1977) and “Phyllis” (2 episodes, 1975-1976), both of which were produced by MTM Productions.
After the demise of “Mary Tyler Moore,” Moore emerged as a host on the CBS variety series “Mary” (1978), but the show only had a short life. She then returned to acting and in 1978, portrayed Betty Rollin, a reporter who suffered from breast cancer, in the made-for-TV biopic “First You Cry.” The role brought her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special. She went on to star in the CBS special “How to Survive the 70s and Maybe Even Bump Into Happiness” (1978) and the CBS short-lived sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Hour” (1979) before enjoying Broadway success with “Whose Life Is It Anyway” (1980). Moore next played Beth Jarrett on the Robert Redford-directed drama “Ordinary People” (1980), opposite Donald Sutherland. She picked up a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress-Drama, an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role and a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress for her performance.
Back to film after the tragic death of her only son, Moore was cast as the mother of a young girl dying of leukemia in Tony Bill's “Six Weeks” (1982) and was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actress for her work in the film. Moore fared better on the small screen when she portrayed Martha Weinman Lear on the ABC film “Heartsounds” (1984), a role that brought the actress her next Emmy nomination, and a middle-aged widow who embarks on a romance with an older newspaperman in the HBO film “Finnegan Begin Again” (1985). During that period, Moore entered the Betty Ford clinic for treatment for alcohol abuse.
Moore returned with CBS' “Mary” (1985-1986), but the show only lasted one season. She made another unsuccessful effort with CBS' “Annie McGuire” (1988), which also had a short life. In between, Moore starred with Julie Payne in the independent film “Just Between Friends” (1986), revisited Broadway in “Sweet Sue” (1987), opposite Lynn Redgrave, and took home an Emmy nomination for her starring role as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln in the NBC television movie “Gore Vidal's Lincoln” (1988). It was in 1993 that she eventually took home her next Emmy Award thanks to her scene-stealing portrayal of spinster Georgia Tann in the based-on-fact television movie “Stolen Babies” (1993), from which she also netted a CableACE nomination.
1995 saw Moore return to series TV as a regular in the CBS short-lived drama “New York News.” She then supported Ben Stiller and Patricia Arquette in the David O. Russell comedy film “Flirting With Disaster” (1996) and won a Chlotrudis for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Stiller's adoptive mother, Pearl Coplin. Moore then starred as a mentally-challenged woman in the made-for-TV film “Stolen Memories: Secrets from the Rose Garden” (also 1996) before having a recurring role as the mother of Tea Leoni in the NBC sitcom “The Naked Truth” and appearing with Edward Asner in ABC's film “Payback” (both 1997). In 1998, she hosted the HBO special “Mary Tyler Moore in Three Cats From Miami ... and Other Pet Practitioners.”
Entering the new millennium, Moore teamed up with Rob Morrow and Kyra Sedgwick for the disappointing comedy “Labor Pains” (2000), her first film since 1997's “Keys to Tulsa.” She next served as both executive producer and actress for the high-profile TV movies “Mary and Rhoda” (2000, ABC), opposite Valerie Harper, and “Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes” (2001, CBS). She next portrayed Principle Stark in the comedy “Cheats” (2002) and won a Camie from the Character and Morality in Entertainment for playing a Southern woman named Lettie Anderson in the TNT television movie “Miss Lettie and Me” (2002). She scored success again on television with her performances in the CBS film “Blessings” (2003), from which she was nominated for a Golden Satellite for Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television. She was next seen in the PBS TV movie version of “The Gin Game” (2003) and the reunion special “The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited” (2004), in which she recreated her Emmy-winning turn of Laura Petrie.
After playing the supporting role of Aunt Lula in the made-for-TV film “Snow Wonder” (2005), Moore joined the cast of the long-running comedy “That '70s Show” (2006) in the recurring role of Christine St. George. In 2008, she made a guest appearance as Joyce in an episode of “Lipstick Jungle.”
Moore is set to play the mother in the drama “Against the Current” (2008), directed and penned by Peter Callahan. The upcoming film stars Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk and Elizabeth Reaser.
Television Critics Association: Career Achievement Award, 2007
TV Land: Groundbreaking Show, “Mary Tyler Moore,” 2004
Character and Morality in Entertainment: Camie, “Miss Lettie and Me,” 2003
American Screenwriters Association: David Angell Humanitarian Award, 2002
Chlotrudis: Best Supporting Actress, “Flirting with Disaster,” 1997
Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, “Stolen Babies,” 1993
American Comedy: Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy, 1987
Women in Film Crystal: Crystal Award, 1984
Golden Globe: Best Motion Picture Actress – Drama, “Ordinary People,” 1981
Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Woman of the Year, 1981
Golden Apple: Female Star of the Year, 1980
People's Choice: Favorite Female TV Performer, 1979
People's Choice: Favorite Female TV Performer, 1978
People's Choice: Favorite All-Around Female Entertainer, 1976
Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, “Mary Tyler Moore,” 1976
People's Choice: Favorite Female TV Performer, 1975
Emmy: Actress of the Year – Series, “Mary Tyler Moore,” 1974
Emmy: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, “Mary Tyler Moore,” 1974
Emmy: Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series, “Mary Tyler Moore,” 1973
Golden Globe: Best TV Actress – Musical/Comedy, “Mary Tyler Moore,” 1971
Golden Apple: Female Star of the Year, 1971
Laurel: 3rd place, Golden Laurel, Female New Face, 1967
Emmy: Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” 1966
Golden Globe: Best TV Star – Female, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” 1965
Emmy: Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead), “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” 1964