When Herbie J Pilato contacted me to have his book Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Story reviewed, I was all nerves. She was the iconic actress whose show I used to watch as a young girl. Having him ask me was such a privilege, and he mentioned that this Saturday was the 50th anniversary of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
I had hardly two days to write the review and after having read the book, I still don’t know if I have done justice to the book.
Anyway Herbie replied: Your review is wonderful Shobana, just wonderful. And I am so delighted that you enjoyed the book.
Appended below is my review. It is a highly recommended read.
Alternatively, it is also published on my review blog: https://reviewservicebyshobana.blogspot.com/2020/09/review-title-of-book-mary-mary-tyler.html
(Photos: courtesy of Herbie J Pilato)
Date of Review: 18/09/2020
AUTHOR: HERBIE J PILATO
A GREAT INSIGHT INTO THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ONE OF THE FINEST ACTRESSES OF ALL TIME!
Herbie J Pilato’s biography on Mary Tyler Moore is a gratifying detailed account of an actress who studiously followed her heart; despite the many challenges she constantly faced in her life, to achieve iconic success and be remembered as one of the most talented and loved actresses of all time.
Pilato has written a meticulous account from Mary’s early years up to the time of her demise; listing her struggles and failures, her battle with illnesses, her non-diminishing determination and perseverance before she achieved remarkable success in a career she carved from the tender age of three. Scripts from her interviews with notable TV personalities are also included in his book clearly outshining Mary’s wit and humor.
One can only be inspired by such a prolific actress who Pilato has managed to amplify with astounding clarity.
Here is a brief review of the book, taken from Pilato’s context. I should add that after reading Pilato’s expressive words and description, his astute precision to project Mary Tyler Moore as she is, nothing but iconic and inspirational, my brief review of what he has written goes unmatched. One has to read his book to know the depth of her incredibility.
In the course of writing the review, I felt it better to quote directly from Pilato’s book to have the desired effect when reading Mary’s life story.
Being one of the finest actresses of all time, this book gives an insight into her vulnerability, her passion, her trademark smile, and her undeniable grit to persevere amidst gruelling setbacks to rise to glory.
A highly recommended read – If nothing else, but, to inspire one to never forsake a dream, and let nothing come in the way of charting monumental success in the chosen path of your career, just like Mary Tyler Moore did – her way.
Maybe this will sum up her personable self, but then as you read about her, she is so much more.
When one interviewer asked Mary to give advice to aspiring entertainment industry professionals, she suggested eliminating negative words and thoughts.
“Just believe in yourself…and keep going and be prepared for the tough moments. Just follow your conviction and let it build all the time. But really want it. Because [the entertainment industry] is tough…you have to be strong.”
Her indomitable drive to succeed might be uncommon, she said, but “…in a very healthy way…Anybody should be driven to work in a field that is satisfying to them…a field that gives something to other people…whether it’s journalism or performing or nursing…medicine, whatever. You should be driven! Work is tremendously satisfying.”
She promised to “Never!” retire, claiming optimism as her best trait. “I find that the muscles involved in smiling are easier to use than the ones involved in frowning. I’m a pretty up person.”
She was asked what she liked least about herself. “I’m…easily prone to be terribly depressed. Not manic. I’m easy-going. But I can worry a lot.”
She admitted that there’s a price to pay for being pleasant, though “not an obvious one,” she said. “You never really allow people to get very close to you. In being very nice, you’re kind of keeping them at arm’s length. You’re never allowing them to see you blow up and really get furious…to see you at what you think is your worst.
About the Author:
Herbie J Pilato is a writer/producer whose books include Dashing, Daring and Debonair: TV’s Top Male Icons from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, Glamour Gidgets and the Girl Next Door, Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery, The Bionic Book, The Kung Fu Book of Caine, and NBC & ME: My Life as a Page in a Book, among others.
Pilato has produced and/or appeared on several TV documentaries including Bravo’s hit five-part series, The 100 Greatest TV Characters, TLC’s Behind the Fame specials on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, and DVD documentaries such as The Six Million Dollar Man boxed set, Kung Fu, and CHiPs.
A former Page for NBC, Pilato worked on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, and Family Ties, appeared on The Golden Girls, General Hospital, and The Bold and the Beautiful, in addition to various other TV, film, and live stage productions (some of which he has also directed).
In 2010, Pilato founded the Classic TV Preservation Society, a formal 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the positive social influence of classic television programming.
Born in Rochester, New York, and today living in Los Angeles, Pilato serves as Contributing Editor for Larry Brody’s TVWriter.com, writes frequently for the Television Academy and Emmys.com, and is the host of Then Again with Herbie J Pilato, a new classic TV talk show now streaming on Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime UK.
Mary Tyler Moore or Mary as she is fondly known – The Irrepressible Star!
December 29, 1936: Mary is born in Brooklyn, New York.
January 25, 2017: Mary dies.
Her Early Years:
Mary Tyler Moore is the first-born of three children to George Tyler Moore (Tyler) and Majorie Hackett.
Tyler, a Catholic, secured a marriage license with Marjorie Hackett, a Protestant who converted to Catholicism in Brooklyn on January 24, 1936. She had a brother, John, and sister, Elizabeth, who died under tragic circumstances.
George was an academician while Marjorie stayed home. Mary attended St. Rose of Lima Catholic School in Brooklyn.
Mary has credited her parents to have blessed her with an appreciation of humor throughout her formative life, even before she began her career. They made her think and feel what’s funny, while Mary learned to welcome the laughter in others.
Her parents may not have had money, but both being English majors in college, they taught her how to speak correctly.
“We never wanted for anything,” Mary said. “We never went hungry. There weren’t a lot of luxuries,” but dancing lessons were arranged when Mary wanted them. Although proud of her Brooklyn influences, as were and remain many celebrities born in that historically rich and cultural place, in time she sought to leave it all behind.
At just 3 years old, Mary would entertain members of her immediate and extended family at home, in her living room, sometimes alongside other young relatives.
She and her same-age cousin Gail would “highjack” their relatives, Mary said, “tie them to their seats,” and then perform musical numbers which the two young girls had witnessed at the movies. In self-defense, Mary thought, she was sent to dancing school so that, “if they had to watch me, at least I’d be trained and it wouldn’t be too painful.”
Moore frequently sought the approval of others, be they family, peers, friends, colleagues, fans, food, wine, medicine, God, or men. The latter dominated, shaped, shifted, and manufactured her life and career, for better or worse.
Her father was a fervent academic, demanding and disparaging. She spent a lifetime trying to please him, if mostly with her art.
At first, Mary had only danced for her dad, to win his love and approval. “If I had that wonderful, perfect, loving relationship with my father that everybody craves,” she said, “I might not have had the gumption to do what I do now – to put myself on the line. I guess it’s too bad we didn’t have a close, loving relationship, but who’s to say? Maybe not I like what I am, I love what I do – and he formed me.” “Thank God I was not being abused in any way,” she later told the Ottawa Citizen.
As a child, she was sexually abused by a male neighbor. Emotionally and psychologically scarred for life, she channeled her trauma into her craft. Also as a child, she once noticed a man beat a dog on the street, thus planting the seeds of her championing and affection for animals.
Mary as a child focused “solely on dancing.” From the time she was very young, Mary knew what she wanted to be. “Only then I thought it was a dancer,” she later told the New York Times. Another time, she told American Television, “Some people refer to it as indulging in my instincts and artistic bent. I call it just showing off, which is what I did from about three years of age on.”
Years after, for an interview with the Toronto Star, Mary said her first formal dance instructor, a mentor/dance pianist, was not exactly the easiest person to please. She was frequently forced to smile, if out of fear alone. Yet, those early attempts to turn her internal frown upside down eventually worked in her favor.
Her smile began as a coping mechanism and became her trademark.
Unlike her studies in dance or music, the relatively reserved young lady never received formal training in acting. Still, she craved the kind of attention actors receive, and dove into the profession head first. “Shy people who haven’t had the amount of attention or love that they think they need,” she said, “…go into public arenas. I think they…get something back, a validation…That gives you an awful lot. It’s terrific. It doesn’t supplant the original need.…”
When Mary was 10 years old, she had a serious disagreement with her mom.
This caused Mary to move in with her maternal grandmother and her favorite Aunt Bertie. Bertie, a.k.a. Alberta Hackett, was the sister of Mary’s mother, and another relative with powerful ties to show business.
Unlike Mary’s mother, Bertie supported her niece’s relentless artistic ambitions, including those dance lessons. “Aunt Bertie sent me to dancing school, paid for the lessons, gave me singing lessons, and told me I could do it,” Mary later related to USA Today. “She encouraged me to always fight on and to get what I wanted.” In her second TV appearance with Oprah Winfrey, Mary said Mary Richards was partly modeled after her aunt. “Her name was Bertie Hackett,” she joked, “[but] they used to call her Bertie Hatchet.”
Mary’s aunt always encouraged her niece to follow her dreams. When Mary was failing subjects in school, Bertie told her, “You’re going to be a dancer, or you’re going to be an actress. Whatever it is, you’re going to be good at it.” However, an acclaimed actress in the end, dancing had always been her first love.
Moore’s first marriage was to Richard “Dick” Meeker, an older man, with whom she had a son named Richie who died young, at the age of 24 by accidentally shooting himself.
Mary’s mother Marjorie had introduced her to Meeker, after meeting him in the neighborhood in early 1955. Marjorie liked Richard almost instantaneously, and wanted him to meet Mary, who consented. The duo soon began dating, then became engaged, and finally married.
Mary said she wed Richard from a desire to assert independence from her parents. “I foolishly thought that the only option for me was to marry,” Mary recalled.
Mary’s love-hate ambitions were wrapped up with her fantasies. Her musical film pursuits became less feasible with each passing day; such movie productions were waning in popularity, but she gave it her best shot.
While still in high school, and with reference letters from her Uncle Harold in hand, she made the rounds with talent agents.
She would share with them her dance history and aspirations, but to no avail. “They wanted to help and were very nice,” remembered Mary, “but they had no way of knowing whether who they were looking at had any talent.”
She finally found an agent who said, “Well, go ahead and try it. We’ll set up some interviews for you. But just remember this, dancers can’t act, and actors can’t dance. And that’s the way it’s meant to be.” With that utter lack of positive reinforcement, she began auditioning.
Arranged by a friend of her Aunt Bertie, the young pixie landed her first professional job – as Happy Hotpoint, a tiny dancing/singing elf that was superimposed over and inside Hotpoint appliances in TV commercials.
Five months prior to her Hotpoint hiring, and after a mild opportunity to date David Nelson, son of Ozzie and Harriet, she met 27-year-old Richard Carleton Meeker, an Ocean-Spray cranberry products salesman, ten years her senior. Though older than Nelson, Meeker was the perfect “boy next store” match to her “girl next door” image. Within six weeks of their pending nuptials in 1955, they moved into a house next door to her parents and, on July 3, 1956, she gave birth to their only son, Richie.
Years later, she explained to Barbara Walters why she married so young: “I don’t want to denigrate my parents, because they’re wonderful people and through the years, I’ve come to know them much better, and like them a lot. But I was going through a stage of about 16, 17, 18, where I didn’t like them very much, and I really wanted to be independent…and didn’t want to be told what to do. And there was this young man to who I was obviously very attracted and…fell in love, I think, as much as you can fall in love at that age. It’s hard to tell the difference.” “My parents thought that children should be born already 18, married and living in a neighboring town,” Mary revealed to USA Today
“I immediately became pregnant – with Richie,” a development which contributed to the end of her TV tenure as Happy Hotpoint.
With each passing week, it became more challenging to conceal her condition while wearing the relatively revealing elf costume. The ads kept her “very busy and very happy for many, many months,” but after a time, she heard, “We’re going to get another Happy Hotpoint girl, so, goodbye, and good luck to you.”
According to author Marc Shapiro, around this time, Mary began work on her first official movie. Once Upon a Horse, a 1958 comedy Western which featured the up-and-coming comedy team of Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. Her role was listed as a “dance hall girl,”
Also around this time, Mary also started taking anonymous modeling jobs for the covers of several low-budget, exotic LPs produced around 1958 or 1959.
Mary won her first recurring role as Sam in Truth, the sultry-voiced telephone operator and receptionist to David Janssen on his TV crime-drama Richard Diamond, Private Detective. It debuted on CBS in 1957; its fourth and final season was on NBC in 1960. Mary made her mark of distinction as Sam.
Before long Mary got other starring roles which highlighted her as an up and coming rising star.
“Beautiful” is most likely what the creative team behind The Dick Van Dyke Show thought when they first saw Mary in their search for Laura Petrie. Mary landed the role which Carl Reiner created in 1960.
In mid-January of 1961, Van Dyke Show producer Sheldon Leonard invited advertising executive Grant Tinker to view a run-through of the sitcom’s pilot episode. That day, Tinker met and was immediately smitten by Mary. Though she fought it, the feelings were mutual. But she was married, and Tinker was not a home-wrecker. He was all class and sophistication.
Mary and Tinker later started dating, beginning with taking in a Broadway production of a show titled Mary, Mary, and later dancing at New York’s hip Peppermint Lounge. “I woke up the next morning,” Mary once told TV Guide, “…and…I was in love.” In place of Meeker’s mild charms, Tinker was more debonair in Mary’s eyes. He was a 1949 graduate of Dartmouth University, who pursued a publishing career in New York.
Tinker was named vice president of television programming for Benton & Bowles, which is when he met Mary, who at first wasn’t all that impressed. In her first memoir, Mary said she felt constrained “to be nice” to Tinker. This feeling of obligation was why she “disliked him so much” at first sight.
In some manner, it was similar to how she felt towards her academic-minded dad. Mary said she “hated” Tinker “for being so educated and wearing such perfect neckties.”
Upon once journeying to New York to promote the Van Dyke Show, Mary was stunned when Tinker invited her to dinner. She graciously accepted, and sought to dazzle him on their first night out, even if she planned to reject him the next time around. But that was not how it turned out. She described him as “tender, exacting, bright, witty and somewhat of a father figure.”
In a video interview archived by the Television Academy years later, Tinker recalled his version of how they met. “Out of that meeting came, a relationship that grew,” he said. His first reaction to her was “…what anyone’s would be. That she was dynamite. And what was great about her was that she wasn’t ‘actressy,’ minus any airs. She was a real person, off-stage and off-camera and I just fell in love with her. I can’t say I was hit by a hammer when I was introduced to her. But she made an immediate impression on me which grew over time. And luckily, I on her, and ultimately we were married.
Mary was seen as Laura Petrie for the last time in the first-run CBS screening of “The Final Chapter,” the Van Dyke Show’s closing episode, which aired June 1, 1966.
By September of 1966, just four weeks after completing the film Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mary – with Grant Tinker by her side – was firmly planted in New York in preparation for her newest role, this time on Broadway.
Mary was anxiety-ridden from the onset. She didn’t think her song-and dance abilities would be sufficient for the Broadway stage, no matter how much effort she invested in preparation. That meant working with an established voice coach, who in turn placed her in touch with a Broadway musical actor who was overwhelmed himself with the task at hand.
“I was nervous about the show,” she said, “…but it was a healthy kind of nervousness. I should have been more nervous when I signed, because there wasn’t even a second act. But it looked like it had to the greatest hit in Broadway history…David Merrick, Abe Burrows directing, [famed choreographer] Michael Kidd for dances, Bob Merrill’s songs, good story, even the Mark Hellinger Theatre [where My Fair Lady had premiered]. Everything just spelled success. But apparently it was a doomed project even before I went into it.”
The New York Times labeled it “one of the most colossal disasters of the contemporary musical stage.”
Bill Persky (writer) claimed that Mary was blamed for the Broadway bombing because she hailed from TV. “At that time, if you came from television, you didn’t deserve to be on Broadway.” While the same may have been said for Chamberlain, Persky had seen Breakfast in New Haven, before it arrived on Broadway. He thought “…Mary was brilliant,” but “…the show was not. But by the time it got to Broadway she was the one who took the blame for it, even after people like Edward Albee tried to fix it. There was no fixing it. It closed the date after it opened.”
By the late 1960s, Mary’s career was in a downward spiral, and her personal life was not exactly on the upswing. She and Grant Tinker hoped to have a child, but she suffered a miscarriage and was devastated. The doctors delivered more bad news: At just 33 years old Mary was diagnosed with diabetes, which meant daily insulin injections.
All the while, too, she struggled with alcoholism, which did nothing for her digestion, or her diabetes.
At a later stage of her career she would say, diabetes left her periodically feeling “down in the dumps…not knowing which way to turn.” That’s when she turned to her Catholic upbringing for comfort, even though she later began to question her religion’s tenets. “I couldn’t live with them,” she said. “I knew, for example, I would be using birth control.” But during her various challenges and tragedies over the years, she received “strength from God’s presence in my life. Time is a great healer.”
Growing Up Again focused on Mary’s life as a type-1 diabetic, and the proceeds were donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, of which she was the international chairman. As she told Parade magazine at the time, “I’ve had the fame and the joy of getting laughter – those are gifts. Now, I want others to learn how I fell down and picked myself up” – both literally and figuratively.
Nearly twenty years later, in 1980, director Robert Redford would deem her perfect for the part of the cold-hearted Beth Jarrett, whose son attempts suicide in the feature film Ordinary People. That’s when Mary delivered another breakout performance which earned her accolades.
The Oscar nomination came for a movie released shortly before Richie, at just 24, accidentally killed himself with a sawed-off shotgun.
Other tragedies echoed the film’s depiction of loss. Mary had lost her younger sister Elizabeth in 1978, at age 21, from a drug overdose. Then came 1986, and the death of Mary’s brother John, a recovering alcoholic who lost his battle with kidney cancer at age 47. This followed John’s attempted suicide to alleviate the pain, with Mary by his side, assisting in the process. The trauma of having an alcoholic mother, a demanding and distant father, and her childhood sexual abuse were just a few of the complexities and ambiguities that infiltrated Mary’s life.
The birth of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, however, was shaped from an entirely different ball of wax. According to Rick Lertzman, the sitcom became part of Grant Tinker’s masterful vision to refocus Mary’s career, beginning with Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman.
“Grant pushed with Dick Van Dyke to do Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman special because he had a plan to remount Mary for television.
” A short time later, when Mary and Tinker formed MTM Enterprises to house The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lertzman said, “Grant wanted the best and the brightest cutting edge talent, in front of and behind the scenes. He wanted her show it to be hipper than The Dick Van Dyke Show…and to take her out of the mode of Laura Petrie.”
Mary certainly beat several odds with the Mary Tyler Moore show, created by Jim Brooks and Allan Burns, who were hand-picked and hired by Grant Tinker. In archival footage for the Television Academy, Tinker intoned, “I didn’t have a model…wanted to go into business for myself and have something to do with Mary’s show…Jim and Allan were the keys…they created the show for Mary.”
Mary received many accolades and awards over the years, including multiple Emmys for playing Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show and Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which forever benchmarked her career. In 1974, she received the Emmy awards for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Actress of the Year in a Series, both for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, including an Oscar nomination for Ordinary People.
After 11 ½ years of being married, Mary and Tinker separated in 1973, divorcing in 1981.
In 1983, she married a third time to Dr Robert Saul Levine, who, unlike Meeker or Tinker, was not a father figure, but instead many years younger than she; potentially a son-figure.
Levine, steadfast and loyal, was not a member of the cultural elite or the entertainment industry. He was a cardiologist who was devoted to his older wife, their relationship, and her wellbeing.
If not by Moore’s side in her youth, Levine was present to help her deal with the lingering, less appealing aspects of her past that at times poisoned her experiences in any era.
Theirs was a remarkable real-life love story, one that rivaled not only her union with Tinker but that of Rob and Laura Petrie’s (Of the Dick Van Dyke Show), fabricated wedded bliss.
She worked until she was physically incapable of doing so. She lived her life to the fullest, and remained dedicated to her craft and various social, political, and charitable causes, connected to animal advocacy and the diabetes with which she struggled.
After her death, world-renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter, the chief medical examiner in one of America’s largest cities, who conducted thousands of autopsies to uncover the various reasons why people die, conducted an autopsy on Mary.
In the Reelz Channel Autopsy TV documentary about Mary’s last days that aired after her death, Dr. Hunter found her challenging first days of life of “particular interest…specifically her mother’s drinking.” “Drinking heavily while pregnant can result in the baby born with a condition known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder,” he said, “which is something Mary appeared to believe she had been affected by. And looking at Mary’s face, there are certain features which could be consistent with F.A.S.D. It’s characterized by a thin, upper lip, low nasal bridge and a flat philtrum – the area between the nose and lip.”
Mary’s features were uneven around the eyes and nose. She herself once attributed this to the fact that her mother was drinking while pregnant. “The condition could result in severe mental abnormalities,” said Dr. Hunter. “There’s no evidence that Mary grew up suffering from these. However, drinking through pregnancy can also result in babies being born with heart defects, such as ventricular septal defect – an abnormality affecting the wall dividing the left and right ventricles of the heart.”
Apparently, it was Mary’s emotional heart which was weakened by her childhood experiences. Her earliest days were littered with challenges, which expanded and were exacerbated throughout her life.
In certain instances, however, those difficulties nevertheless led to positive results that prompted her destiny for stardom.
“Mary was never what you would call a shy girl. She knew what she wanted and went after it. She told us about wanting her own production company and exactly how she envisioned the MTM logo…with a kitty meowing, instead of a lion roaring [as with MGM]…long before it actually came into fruition. She was very excited about the film and her role, as were all of us. She took her part very seriously. Some may have seen this as standoffish, and she may have appeared aloof at times, but she was just very focused on her work and doing a good job. I admired her for that.” Although Mary’s self-esteem was not always evident throughout her life and career, she held her own amidst the Hollywood royalty that filtered through the Millie set – Lillie, Andrews, and Channing.
Karen Sharpe had assessed the pre-famous Mary Tyler Moore: “She had aspirations like all of us. She wanted to make a dent in the industry…to be able to work…and become a star…which is what we were all trying to do. It starts with wanting to have the fame and the lifestyle we all read about in the movie magazines.
In those beginning days, if you weren’t from Los Angeles or part of the business, you thought it was so glamorous…that it was so great to be a part of it all. That’s the way they made it look in all of those movie magazines. Then when you actually get into it, you think, ‘Ok, what’s this really about?’ Well, it’s about hard work….and the performance…and wanting to be the best you can be because of other people that you’re working with.”
Mary recounted how many people would approach her and say, “Gosh, when I used to watch you, I wanted to be like you – like Mary Richards.” To which her response was always, “So did I.”
Another time, she asserted, “It has been a wonderful life; absolutely terrific. There are few things I would go back and do differently if I had that control.” Truth is, most of us do have control over much of our lives, if we only choose to exert it.
Intentionally or not, Mary directed most of her own life and career. She did what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it, and was more than aware of the consequences each step of the way.
Comparisons to Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Doris Day, and Elizabeth Montgomery aside, Mary’s experiences and influence were unmatchable. Whether her talent was considered marginal or exceptional; whether she was blessed or fortunate; whether she had bad timing or good luck; and despite some unproductive professional selections and a few unhealthy personal choices – Mary lived a rich and full life, and enjoyed a lengthy and prosperous career. And have we not become all the better for it, each of us a beneficiary of her talents and charity?
On film, videotape, celluloid, screen, DVD, Blu-ray, or somewhere online or anywhere amidst and between the varied worlds of real life and multimedia, the spirit of Mary, Laura, Mare, and others, continue to be transmitted into the hearts of millions.
Mary Richards’ sentiment to her friends and co-workers in “The Last Show,” the series finale of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, nicely summed up the connection, impact, and message Mary Tyler Moore left with her friends, co-workers, relatives, followers, fans, and admirers: “What is a family anyway? They’re just people who make you feel less alone and really loved. And that’s what you’ve done for me. Thank you for being my family.”
She was attracted to credible and realistic characters that did the best they could with the cards they were dealt. This was “true of every human being,” she said. After all, “Adolf Hitler believed that what he was doing was right and that God was on his side.” She added, “I always go into a role, fortunately, not having to play Mr. Hitler, believing that the truth will come out…the truth of the performer played through the reality of the character will emerge, and be acceptable; if not understandable, at least recognizable.”
In a statement to the press, shortly after Mary died, her publicist, Mara Buxbaum, then of PMK, now of ID-PR, said: “A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate…Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile.”
When once asked how she preferred to be remembered, Mary concluded, “[As] someone who made a difference in the lives of animals,” and as someone “who always looked for the truth, even if it wasn’t funny.
Her candid feelings on animals:-
She said, “Animals can give you so much in terms of a warm, full, rich feeling about yourself and your life. When you sit down with an animal or just watch it playing off on its own with another animal, you are inspired. And that stays with you…and gives you more to go on than you ever had before.”
A florist who visited Mary’s home noticed how protective she was of her animals on the grounds including a golden retriever, a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, and a goat. When the florist exited the premises, Mary said, “Please be careful when you back up. My little friends are all around.”
Some Notable Quotes I loved from Pilato’s Book:
“I really want to be taken seriously…Mary Tyler Moore. Doesn’t that sound serious?” – Mary Tyler Moore
Comedian Milton Berle, who made his name in Vaudeville and later, as “Mr Television,” the star of NBC-TV’s Texaco Star Theatre from 1948 to 1956, “The day Mary Tyler Moore was born,” …the world became a better place.”
“Shy people who haven’t had the amount of attention or love that they think they need,” she said, “…go into public arenas. I think they…get something back, a validation…That gives you an awful lot. It’s terrific. It doesn’t supplant the original need.” – Mary Tyler Moore
“To me, a Brooklyn girl,” she said, “…show business meant singing and dancing. The sun rose and set on that Golden Girl dancing her way to stardom.” – Mary Tyler Moore
“Someday,” she said, “I’d like to be a big star.” – Mary Tyler Moore
“And what was great about her was that she wasn’t ‘actressy,’ minus any airs. She was a real person, off-stage and off-camera and I just fell in love with her.” – Grant Tinker
Actress-comedienne Carol Burnett once told Nora Ephron, “If there is an after-life, I want to come back and be Mary. I think she’s just wonderful.”
Kevin Sessums (of Parade) ended his interview with one more question. “Quick,” he said to her. “Fill in the blank: Mary Tyler Moore is…” “Trustworthy,” she replied. “Honest.” “Her laughter,” Sessums observed, “…that lovely lightness,” then filled the room right before she concluded with a grin, “Unless I’m lying.”
–End of review-