Farewell Mary Tyler Moore: Actress and Activist

Like many, I was saddened to see the passing of Mary Tyler Moore, who I grew up watching on the 1970s television series “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”  She passed away at 80.  I liked Moore both on and off the screen. Indeed, her passing made me think about this older generation of celebrities, perhaps the greatest generation.  While some were high maintenance or unhinged, it seems like so many of our younger celebrities are raw, vulgar, and downright nuts.  I know that that makes me sound like an older geezer. Perhaps I am, but I just watched the vulgar protest “speech” of Madonna and the rave of the actor.  Moore was as big, if not bigger, in terms of her celebrity status. Yet, she always maintained a sense of grace and decorum.  I shared her belief in animal rights and she was a great advocate for both animals and combatting juvenile diabetes.  She was a force for good, which is more than I can say for so many celebrities that followed her.  I cannot help but think of women like Ariana Grande licking donuts or Madonna screaming about burning down the White House or Charlie Sheen drinking “tiger blood” on some rooftop.

Moore struggled off camera with Type 1 diabetes since she was 33.  In 2011, she went through a harrowing surgery to remove a benign tumor of the lining tissue of the brain.  Yet, she remained a positive force in our society.

I am not sure how some people like Moore can attain international fame and yet remain so well grounded and positive. That seems to be something missing with so many of our current celebrities. I am not sure if they were unhinged before attaining stardom or whether stardom unhinged them. Either way, it often seems the exception rather than the rule to find well-grounded celebrities.

Take Madonna’s profane speech at the recent Women’s March:

Then there is Shia LeBeouf in a signature moment:

Moore was a model for women in my generation. She showed an ambitious independent woman fighting to make her way in the big city. She was a great actress and a great person.  She fought for animal rights and children without becoming some profanity spewing maniac with a cause.

I will miss her artistic presence and her elegant advocacy. She gave back much to her fans and her country.

37 thoughts on “Farewell Mary Tyler Moore: Actress and Activist”

  1. I never thought of Mary as a “feminist”. She went into the marketplace and proved herself. She never gave a thought to the gov’t forcing her hiring based on her gender. She went out and earned her way. If requesting a raise, she looked for another way to present the question. Women would have been far better served in the 60s (when the gov’t began inserting itself into hiring, to back women and minorities learning how to network, how to negotiate, how to present themselves. This gave us quotas among other things.

  2. There are some very nice comments here. I am going to go watch some old episodes of her show.

  3. The house that was in the opening of the show, where Mary lived in the first years, in on Kenwood Parkway in Minneapolis and still a tourist stop,

  4. So many of people who filled my childhood, I thought. Then I thought I’m 75! I think all young girls wanted to look like her.

    1. She was handsome, and never in a garish way. A great many women do not realize that, in matters of grooming, less is more. The same is true with regard to exposed skin. MTM understood this.

  5. If you’re ever in Minneapolis, there is a statue of Mary throwing her hat in the air on the street where that iconic scene was filmed.

  6. Mary and Rhoda and Lou and Ted is a book about that great show that I read a few years ago. Mary was a proud Republican, but didn’t preach about her politics. Preaching and lecturing is almost strictly Dem. Mary was incredibly hard working and demanding on herself and others. But, she was not a jerk about it, she just wanted a great show every week. All on the show respected her immensely. Valerie Harper is a genuinely nice, generous woman and loved by all. Ed Asner is a sexist pig, a-hole. Ted Knight[nee Konopka] happened to be born and raised in my hometown of Terryville, CT. I had conversation w/ probably a dozen people his age who grew up w/ Ted. They all said he was merely playing himself as the pompous anchor of WTMJ. I loved the show. It was groundbreaking for women. Mary was a REAL feminist, not one of these angry clowns we saw last Saturday. Sadly, the diabetes turned to dementia the last few years of her life.

    1. She favored the Republicans in her later years. She was a Democrat earlier on.

      1. She was a Republican during the MTM show years[70’s]. That would have been her prime, not “later years.”

        1. No, about 25 years later, not during her MTM years, and she’s never been all that voluble about it. The one who was was Ed Asner, though less at that particular time than about a decade later. Asner is red haze, a descendant of the old Henry Wallace Progressives.

          Most of that cast I do not think were ever identified with any social or political tendency. Gavin MacLeod is a noted evangelical and Chloris Leachman is a village atheist. That’s it.

  7. My first glimpse of MTM was just her legs on Richard Diamond Private Detective Black and White TV. So? no you know my age. Try to find someone that good these days. I gave up on TV and kept the memories.

  8. The difference between Mary Tyler Moore and Madonna, Charlie Sheen, Ashley Judd, Robert De Niro, Cher, Meryl Streep, etc., is that Moore was a PROFESSIONAL. Professionals practice their craft to become even better professionals. They do not get up on a soapbox and preach a load of Leftist BS so they can get some cheap applause from their fellow non-professional Leftists.

    1. Pardon me, but when actors speak it is “free speech.” I have heard just as many actors push Rightwing ideas. That being said, I will greatly miss Mary Tyler Moore, as much for her dramatic work as for her comedy. She was amazing in both Ordinary People and also The Gin Game, with Dick Van Dyke. The earth is a little sadder, today.

      1. I have heard just as many actors push Rightwing ideas.

        No you haven’t, because such performers are few and far between. Ronald Reagan and George Murphy were at the but end of their career as performers (and Nancy Reagan definitively retired) when they were prominent in conservative politics. John Wayne is dead (and only pushed conservative politics during the last 1/3 of his career). Gary Sinise, Kelsey Grammer, and James Woods are not all that voluble on political topics.

        1. I do not mind that celebrities of all stripes have strongly held opinions, as I am an ardent supporter of free speech on all sides of an issue. But you do not know who I have or have not heard. I have listened to Clint Eastwood, Ted Nugent, Dennis Rodman, Jon Voight, Dennis Miller, Scott Baio, and many others. It is common for people, in general, to tend to listen to, and remember, those who confirm our own views of the world, and to be less likely to remember those who disconfirm our own views; this is known as “The Confirmation Bias.” I think we are all subject to this, it’s merely human nature. Wikipedia has a good definition of this phenomenon; here’s the web site address, if you are interested:

  9. That is very sad news, but actually, I am glad I heard about it here first.

    RIP Mary, you were always my fave.

  10. Professor.
    Thank you for your introduction to this sad story.
    M.T.M. was the personification of a genuine lady.
    We will never see a reproduction of her generation.
    How sweet it was.R.I.P.

  11. I loved her. That show was like comfortable place to come back to.

    Betty White and Dick Van Dyke are still with us.

  12. I do not miss her– we’ve been watching her show for several months (w/o commercials). Currently on season 4 (of 8), it is as enjoyable now as it was back then.
    I highly recommend watching!

  13. She was a talented, generous, kind, classy lady. She put so much effort into making the world a better place.

    RIP Mary Tyler Moore. She will be greatly missed.

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