Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore

Tony- and Emmy-winning actress and icon of American television -- via the New York Times. A master of comedy in two immortal comedy series -- "The Dick van Dyke Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," she could do drama as well, as she proved in her riveting turn in "Ordinary People."

We grew up devoted to her Laura Petrie on "Dick van Dyke" -- she was beautiful, smart, caring, talented, and funny, and we all thought she would be the perfect sitcom wife and mom. (It turns out her life was very tough offscreen, even more of a tribute to her persistence.)

Later, "Mary Tyler Moore" was part of our unvarying Saturday night CBS routine, an education in character humor. She was great there, too. She took the happy, smiling 'single girl' stereotype and changed it completely, thanks to some brilliant writers. Her Mary Richards character wasn't a flunky, she was a BOSS. She could get stuff done. She could be sad, angry, confused . . . even ugly. She helped create a dimensional character, and wisely played it straight for the other members of the ensemble, who developed theri characters and created something like a perfect show.  It's not often, as in never, that a performer has captured our hearts twice. She did.