Didn't you feel like you'd lost a dear relative or a beloved friend when you heard news that Mary Tyler Moore had died? That is the impact of TV, an intimate medium, when it gives us a most charismatic, skilled and relevant talent. We go to the movies. But TV....that's different. We can have a TV in the living room, the kitchen or the bedroom. Someone's voice and image is in our private space like a family member. That TV talent, dropping by every week, can become a loved one. Mary Tyler Moore was a loved one. THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW was comforting must-see Saturday night entertainment that made you want to stay home and share watching it with family or friends. Yes. She made you want to stay home on a Saturday night and laugh with loved ones.
That national interview was some of the work that helped me get a job offer from New York City. In the late 80s, during my VH1 years, I'd become buddies with Mary Tyler Moore's production partner. One of the coolest things about returning his phone calls at the office was that Mary would often answer the phone.
I loved working at VH1. Loved it. Unfortunately, new management came in and decided to make changes. It decided not to renew contracts of on-air talents and it started to lay-off some of the production talent. A few months before my contract ended in 1990, I returned a call to Mary's production partner. I'd told him what had happened. Mary answered the phone and said that she'd heard the news.
I didn't know. It hadn't occurred to me. I'd never been on unemployment. Mary asked a couple of specific things about my contract and replied, "Oh, you can definitely get unemployment." Then she told me what to do.
All I could think was "Oh my gosh...I am getting advice on my TV career....from Mary Richards!"
I took her advice and it helped me take care of myself. Just a couple of weeks ago, I watched episodes of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. They hold up. I laughed as much as I did the first time I saw them many years ago with family and, later, with friends.
Many female TV anchors mentioned what a significant feminist role model Mary Tyler Moore was with her Mary Richards character. Here's a bit of wonderful trivia for you. The classic "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode -- was directed by a woman. Following in the pioneer footsteps of actress/director Ida Lupino was Joan Darling, an actress who, like Lupino, became a director of episodic television. Joan Darling directed the "Chuckle Bites the Dust" episode, one of the funniest episodes in TV sitcom history.
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