By Dennis Hartley
Well, we almost made it all the way through the first month of 2017…but alas, another pop icon of my youth is gone. I was too young to fall in love with Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie on the innovative Dick Van Dyke Show in the early 60s, but her endearing characterization of the warm, smart, and fiercely independent Mary Richards on the equally groundbreaking sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, completely captured my heart and made me a lifetime fan.
She was an admirable person off the set as well, with her dedication to animal rights activism and as a spokesperson for juvenile diabetes.
She was a gifted comedic actor, but had more range than many people seemed willing to give her credit for. Consider this subtly played scene of underlying tension from Robert Redford’s Ordinary People:
Moore received an Oscar nom for Best Actress in 1980 for her work in that film; if you’ve never seen it I highly recommend it. That said, I’ll always be most grateful for all the laughs over the years; her comedy chops are on full display in this classic Mary Tyler Moore Show bit:
It’s OK to laugh. Mary would consider it an insult if you didn’t. R.I.P.