MARY TYLER MOORE by Jason Bonderoff


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Fast-moving celebrity bio that digs behind the exuberant facade that brought early fame to Moore. Not much of a friend-maker, Moore is not the clean-cut Midwestern type she's known for as Mary Richards on TV. She's an Irish Catholic from Brooklyn and has spent her entire life in New York City or Los Angeles. A poor student, she got stage-struck early and worked her way into TV at 17, dancing on a stove as the three-inch-high Hot Point pixie, on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. She sought guidance from older men, at 17 married a 28-year-old salesman who lived next door to her parents, then quickly became pregnant. When she returned to work, she decided to take up acting rather than dancing, landed a job on Richard Diamond as Sam the switchboard girl, known only by her legs and hands--her face was never shown. After 13 shows she quit--but became the darling of casting directors who wanted to show what Sam really looked like. Within five years she'd landed her long-running role on The Dick Van Dyke Show, divorced, remarried the man (Grant Tinker) who guided her career for the next 20 years, and soon won her first Emmy as Van Dyke's wife. When the show folded after five years, she was the only one on it whose career grew, but not before sinking in Hollywood in a series of Pollyanna roles, then on Broadway in the Breakfast at Tiffany's musical flop. A heavy smoker and diet-cola addict, she came down with diabetes, still secretly ate sweets while learning to give herself insulin shots. She hit a new peak with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, went on to her triumph in Ordinary People, in which she played a perfect homemaker pathetically out of touch with her own feelings--""the dark side of Mary Tyler Moore."" This was capped by a real-life dark side when her grown-up son accidentally killed himself while fooling with a shotgun. Later, she entered the Betty Ford Clinic to help remove alcohol from her diabetic's blood chemistry. Low-level writing, but quietly uplifting.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's