The death of actress Mary Tyler Moore this week had Americans remembering beloved TV characters and a woman with great talent. In the 1960s she played Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and in the ’70s she was spunky Mary Richards in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
She revolutionized the role of women on television, as Van Dyke recalled, “The funny thing was, after the (Dick Van Dyke) show went off the air, Mary had the reputation of being the wife, the woman who brings the coffee.” All that changed in 1970 with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” where she played a woman, single and 30, with a career as an associate producer at a television station.
Moore influenced women such as Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, simply by showing that women can make choices for themselves.
The actress herself said she felt that women have a major role as mothers, and that it’s important for mothers to be involved with their children. And so right-wing outlets such as “Conservative Review” say modern feminists “should strive to be like Mary Tyler Moore.” At the same time, liberal pundits such as Samantha Bee could praise her. On her show, Bee said, “Thanks to Mary Tyler Moore, the reason a little Sam Bee could ever think I could do something like this. We are going to make it after all.” Then Bee and others on stage threw their pink protest hats (Google it) into the air in honor of Moore.
Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News, posted a tweet noting, “Mary Tyler Moore influenced my career more than any other TV role model. She indeed turned on the world with her smile.”