Monday, December 4, 2023

RIP Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017)

By Michael Schwartz We here at Next Best Picture are saddened to hear of the loss of Mary Tyler Moore who passed away today at age 80. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

Click below for some words and highlights from her career. Mary Tyler Moore has died at 80, signaling a tremendous loss for the entertainment world. Mary was nothing short of a trailblazer. In an age when women simply didn’t lead their own network sitcoms, she went against the grain. After a successful run on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, Mary developed what would result in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, one of the most successful programs in television history. It holds that title for a reason. The show remains sharp, funny, well written and performed. What was new and exciting 40 years ago remains equally so today. Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Gavin MacLeod, Betty White and Georgia Engel make up a terrific ensemble. But it was Mary’s chipper and can do attitude that made the show what it was. 

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” presented a character that was the first of her kind, and would go onto inspire many women to follow suit. Oprah Winfrey names Mary as a factor for wanting to go into journalism, while Tina Fey used the MTM show as inspiration for the equally brilliant “30 Rock”. 

After an incredible seven-year run of her series, Moore decided to play against type in 1980. Her performance as Beth Jarrett, the distant and grieving mother in Robert Redford’s masterful “Ordinary People” is one of the all time greats. She brilliantly hid a world of pain underneath a chilly surface. While the film won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, it remains a travesty that Mary didn’t go home with the Best Actress prize. 

Moore continued to work late into her career. Though diabetes and other related health issues took their toll, she was always a reliable screen presence. She has a great cameo in David O. Russell’s “Flirting With Disaster”, and even reunited with Harper, Leachman, White and Engel on an episode of TV Land’s “Hot In Cleveland”. While her death cannot be called a tragedy, it marks the end of an era for a special chapter in entertainment history. Mary turned the world on with her smile. I cannot thank her enough for years of entertainment and inspiration. MTM Show Theme Oprah Clip from “Chuckles Bites The Dust”, a very famous episode of The MTM Show Scene from “Ordinary People” Mary talking about her work in “Ordinary People”
You can follow Michael and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @mikemovie

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