Mary Tyler Moore, who reached the age of 80 just a short month ago, died this past week.
Mary “turned the world on with her smile” for a great number of years as well as doing a great deal for women by portraying women as independents and equals.
Carl Reiner, who created the “Dick VanDyke Show” (1961-1966) said, “She was an impressive person, a talented person and a beautiful person. A force of nature.”
He went on to say, “She’ll last forever, as long as there’s television. Year after year, we’ll see her face in front of us.”
Mary, with her infectious smile and talent, did a great deal for women over the years. Minnesota went on to lay a special claim to Mary since it was here that the Mary Tyler Moore Show was located. For years we were all witnesses of the opening shots of Minneapolis and the famous “hat toss” in front of what was once Dayton’s Department Store.
Mary, who started out at the age of 17 wanting to be a dancer, went on to do TV commercials for Hotpoint appliances during the 1950s which aired during Ozzie and Harriet.
After appearing in 39 commercials in five days for Hotpoint, Mary’s career changed when she became pregnant. She later did a number of television programs, as well as appeared in several big parts in movies before she was cast in the “Dick VanDyke Show,” which was based on Carl Reiner’s own life and career, at the age of 24.
Mary Tyler Moore went on to play Laura Petrie in the Dick VanDyke Show until 1966, which had been rated in the top 20.
In 1970 Mary and her husband Grant Tinker created the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The show went on to have six successful season before it was canceled due to falling ratings. Despite the ratings that last year, The Mary Tyler Moore Show went on to win a Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series.
The show which was instrumental for the women’s movement for its portrayal of independent working women, was also responsible for a number of other landmark shows, “Rhoda,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Lou Grant,” etc.
During its seven seasons, the Mary Tyler Moore Show held the record for winning the most Emmy Awards, at 29. That record continued until 2002. Mary then went on to appear on the “big screen” and earned a nomination for “Ordinary People” and “Whose Life Is It Anyway.”
Despite all of the success that Mary earned, she did not have an easy life. Mary married Richard Meeker, a “food broker” when she was 27 and 11 months later she gave birth to her only child, Richie. By the time he was just 3 years old, she was doing steady work on TV, and when Rickie was 6, she and Meeker divorced.
Richie and Mary later became estranged, but they were able to reconcile before Richie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound when he was just 24.
Mary went on to respond to over 6,000 letters of condolences that she had received, and then got back to work.
Mary Tyler Moore did a lot of charity work, as well as got involved in a number of various political causes, particularly animal rights and diabetes. Mary suffered with diabetes early in her days with the Mary Tyler More Show, as well as alcoholism. And then if that wasn’t enough, in 2011, she underwent elective brain surgery to remove a benign meningioma.
Mary Tyler Moore died from a cardiopulmonary arrest, as a complication of pneumonia on January 25 this year.
I will continue to remember what Mary Tyler Moore did for women. I will also remember her as that great young lady who tossed her hat in the air in front of the Dayton’s Department Store in Minneapolis, Minnesota!
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Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, February 2nd: Kia Jayann Buendorf, her 9th; Matt Davis, Addie Farr, Joey Farr, Michael Farr, Butch Otteson, John Fornberg, Robert Hanson, Jim Motz, Karri Bangert, and Lillie Fenney
• Friday, February 3rd: Avery Jean Blouin, 2014; Bowen Gregory Jensen, his 11th; Lily Neitzel, Julie Hanson, David Johnson, Sherry Misgen, Tara Richards, Francene Pittman, Jeremy Hanson
• Saturday, February 4th: Oliver William Powers, his 1st; Aaron Duane Bauers, Tyler Cerney, Tyler Sorenson, Waylen Busho Jr., Billy Glynn, David Newgard, Roy Jensen, John Lent
• Sunday, February 5th: Crystal Simonson, Blanche Kasper, Darrell Howell, Randy Reese, Ericka Johnson, Kylee Jace Wilson, Wesley Schoenrock
• Monday, February 6th: Jean Klocek, Carolyn Hanson, Dean Jensen, David Kelly, Martin Bartness, Colleen Borchert, Troy Haddy, Jean Clausen, Sonja Thompson, Megan Stephoni, Todd Nelson, Brooke Burns, Kaye Swenson
• Tuesday, February 7th: Cheryl Cornelius, Ted Pelzl, Kelly Simon, Emma Lorraine Klemmensen, Karissa Dolan,
• Wednesday, February 8th: Lainee Ann Krohn, Erin Thompson, Terry Wacek,
• Thursday, February 9th: Emily Eder, John Warnke, Donnavon Eaker, Laura (Edwards) Baudoin, Brad Lerum, Kelly Lageson, Heidi Nelson, Karen Knudson, Tami Sorenson Hansen, Jay Wangsness
• Friday, February 10th: Brooklyn Jo Baudoin, Brett Mitchell Kubiatowicz, Greg Hagen, Abbey Jensen, Tom Wayne, Dean Reiter, Michael Glienke, Wayne Osmundson, Rachel Strand, Judy Thostenson, Peggy Talamantes, Greg Nelson, Madison Johnson, Dick & Mary Ann Ewing
• Saturday, February 11th: Megan Pence, Jet Wayne, Neil Douglas Schmidt, Donna Wilker, David Dunn, Julie Christensen, Rhonda Thompson Christensen, Steve Gallentine, Earl Cleven, Teresa Knudson Pratt
May all the good wishes that you receive on your special day bloom in your heart and bring you joy!
Correction: I got the identification of the two Hagen girls’ pictures that ran on Page 3 of the January 26 edition, turned around. Brenna is the one holding the “Small Town” sign, and Brittni is the one holding the Ellendale-Geneva Raiders seat cushion.