Actress Mary Tyler Moore was born on December 29, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York. As the star of two hit series in 1960s and 1970s, Moore is one of the most popular actresses in the history of television. A skilled dancer, she started out in commercials, playing the part of a home appliance known as “Happy Hotpoint” in the mid-1950s. Moore also found work as an actress, landing some small parts and making her film debut in 1961 in X-15.
Moore became one of television’s most beloved wives on The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1961. As Laura Petrie, she demonstrated her talent for domestic comedy, and won Emmys in 1964 and 1966 for her work on the series. After the show ended in 1966, she made a few movies, including Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) and Change of Habit (1970). But it was her return to television that led to her most famous role.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show hit the airwaves in 1970, and Moore’s character was in step with the times. Audiences identified with her portrayal of Mary Richards, a single 30-something woman in the working world. The comedy show followed Mary’s personal and professional life as she worked at a television news department and also featured Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Betty White, and Valerie Harper.
Moore won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in 1973, 1974 and 1976 for the show. Involved in the making of the show, Moore and her second husband Grant Tinker created and produced the series through their company MTM Enterprises. Their company produced a number of other popular television programs, including The Bob Newhart Show, Hill Street Blues, Remington Steele and several spin-offs from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Ending a seven-year run on television, Mary Tyler Moore tried again to find another series. She made several attempts, including 1978’s Mary and 1995’s New York News, but none of her new shows caught on with television audiences. She did, however, continue to have success in other acting endeavors. She won a Tony Award for her performance of Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1980) on Broadway. Moore also received an Academy Award nomination for Ordinary People that same year.