Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Mary Tyler Moore!

“A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.”

Picture Legend:

1. Mary
2. Young
3. Dancer
4. Happy Hotpoint
5. Record album model
6. On display
7. Legs
8. Mary’s bunny days
9. Danny Thomas
10. Marlo Thomas
11. Sherry Jackson
12. With the evil Carl Reiner
13. The Petrie’s
14. Rob and Laura, soon to be impersonated by Scully and Mulder
15. With the rest of the cast, (L to R) Morey Amsterdam, Richard Deacon, Mary, Dick, and Rose Marie
16. Laura Petrie’s signature Capri pants.
17. Posing
18. All grown up
19. Blonde
20. Mary with 2nd husband, Grant Tinker
21. With Julie Andrews in “Thoroughly Modern Millie”
22. With George Peppard in “What's So Bad About Feeling Good?”
23. With some guy named Elvis in “Change of Habit”
24. As Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”
25. Part of the MTMS cast, (top) Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, (middle) Mary, Georgia Engel, (bottom) the indomitable Betty White
26. Christopher Lloyd
27. With Timothy Hutton in “Ordinary People”
28. Mary with son Richie on the left, and T.V. son Richie on the right, Larry Mathews
29. Mary with Dr.  Robert Levine
30. With Dudley Moore in “Six Weeks”
31. With (L to R) Richard Jenkins, Patricia Arquette, Ben Stiller, Tea Leoni, George Segal, and Josh Brolin in “Flirting with Disaster”
32. With an old friend in “The Gin Game”
33. 2004‘s “The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited”
34. With Mila Kunis on “That 70s Show”
35. Fourth Grader
36. With the cast of “Hot in Cleveland”
37. MTM

   This morning it is my great privilege and honor to give a great big happy birthday shout out to one of my very favorite comedians and actresses, Ms Mary Tyler Moore!
    Like about 51% of the general population Mary was born at a very early age as a small, bald, female infant on this day in Brooklyn Heights, which I’m told is an affluent residential neighborhood within the New York City borough of Brooklyn. 
   A lot of notable people have lived in Brooklyn Heights. More so than your average neighborhood probably. The great British/American poet W. H. Auden once lived there after he moved to the U.S. in 1939. Walt Whitman, a humanist poet lived there. So did the novelist Thomas Wolfe, who wrote Look Homeward, Angel, Norman Mailer, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, and Marilyn Monroe’s ex and playwright Arthur Miller once lived there. A lot of famous actresses like Mary lived there, or still do, like “Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker, “Ferris Bueller's Day Off”s Mia Sara, “The Office"s and “Birdman”s Amy Ryan, “The Americans” Keri Russel, Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly, “Gilmore Girls” Alexis Bledel, Lena Dunham creator of “Girls,” “Vanilla Sky”s Penélope Cruz. Tyra Banks and the musician and fashion icon Björk. 
   A lot of other people live there too. Some just Ordinary People (if there is such a thing as ordinary people. I’ve yet to meet any), which happens to be the name of the film Mary was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for in 1981, but lost to Sissy Spacek, who was in “Coal Miner's Daughter,” which is about the country singer Loretta Lynn. Ms Moore won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress In A Motion Picture that year though.  
   Sissy Spacek was born in Quitman, Texas. 
   According to some sources Mary was born in Flatbush New York, which is also a community in Brooklyn. The Jamaican/American reggae fusion singer and deejay Shaggy once lived in Flatbush.
   Mary soon moved to Flushing, Queens though, which is a whole different borough altogether. 
   Her father, George Tyler Moore, was a clerk, and her mom, Marjorie, well, the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) describes her profession as being an alcoholic. 
   A professional alcoholic. That’s very impressive. I am an amateur. 
   Mary’s maternal grandparents were English immigrants, and her father was of English, Irish, and German descent, so she is four sixths English, one sixth Irish, and one sixth German. Very important.
   Mary was the oldest of three children. Her sister Elizabeth was born three months earlier than her own son, Richie (Richard Jr.). Elizabeth was born March 20, 1956, and Richie was born July 3rd; both here in Los Angeles at what used to be Queen of Angels Hospital. Unfortunately she passed away in 1978 at the age 21, her death  ruled a suicide by drug overdose. Her brother John was eight years younger, and he passed away here in L.A. in 1991 of cancer after a failed assisted suicide. He was 47 years old.
   But just after John was born in New York the Tyler Moore family moved out here to Los Angeles. I’m sorry to say I was not yet alive to greet them.
   Mary attended  first St. Ambrose Catholic School in West Hollywood,  and then Immaculate Heart High School, an  all-girl, college preparatory school, in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, just below the famed Griffith Park Observatory.   
   She was a natural dancer.      
   "My grandfather once said, having watched me one entire afternoon, prancing and leaping and cavorting, 'this child will either end up on stage or in jail.' Fortunately, I took the easy route."
   And she would utilize that talent to break into show business after graduating from high school.
   She also got married at age 18 to Richard Meeker, whom she described as the “boy next door,” which implies familiarity and availability I suppose. Six months later she was pregnant with Richie, her one and only child. 
    Her first professional job was as a dancer... as an elf specifically, way before Will Farrell got into the game. 
   There was a popular show on television at the time, 1955 to be exact, called “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” one might say “That 50s Show,” of the period, but which concentrated more on the parents, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, rather than their two sons (one of which, Ricky Nelson, would become an accomplished actor and singer in his own right, starring in a film with John Wayne, and here’s a clip of him singing his hit, “Garden Party”). And here’s an episode of the Ozzie and Harriet Show. 
   It was a cool show that I would later discover in reruns. It was funny and smart, and not as bland as let’s say, “Father Knows Best,” or “Leave it to Beaver.”
   Television shows were sponsored by specific and various business concerns at the time. For instance the  American radio and television anthology series “Death Valley Days,” which aired on T.V. from 1952 to 1970, was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Borax Company (our 40th President Ronald Reagan hosted the show from 1964 to 1965. Too bad he didn’t stick with it). There was “The 20th Century Fox Hour,” “Alcoa Theatre,” “Goodyear Television Playhouse,” and “The DuPont Show with June Allyson.” On and on.
   Well it seems the sponsor for “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” was a domestic appliance manufacturer, The Hotpoint Electric Heating Company. Mary was hired to be their mascot, the “Happy Hotpoint” elf. Here’s a clip of one of her commercials. 
   When it became hard to hide her advancing pregnancy in the dancing elf costume Mary moved on. 
   And switched from dancing to acting. She said dancing "lacked the spotlight," and she "really wanted to be a star."
   It is said Mary appeared in 39 T.V. commercials in five days, ultimately earning about $6,000 from her first job. She modeled and appeared on a number of album covers. She auditioned for the role of Danny Thomas’s (born Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz. What a change up!) older daughter on his successful television show, “Make Room For Daddy.” But he didn’t hire her. Later he would famously say “no daughter of mine could have that [little] nose." 
   I have no idea why he would say that. His real life daughter, Marlo Thomas, has a beautiful nose, so much so that she starred in her own sitcom, the late 60s “That Girl.”
   By the way, Danny founded the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and Marlo now acts as it’s National Outreach Director. The hospital’s stated mission is “to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.”
   That sounds exceptionally cool to me. Here’s a link to the hospital’s website in case you’d like to donate a kidney or something. I bet they wouldn’t turn down some cash as well.
   Anyway, the role went to the actress Sherry Jackson... who also has a beautiful nose... for a girl.
   Yet Danny would prove to be instrumental in Mary’s career, and very soon at that.
   She got her first regular television role in 1959 as Sam, Richard Diamond's smoldering answering service girl, on the third season of “Richard Diamond, Private Detective,” starring the original fugitive, David Janssen (Danny Thomas would be an honorary pallbearer at Janssen’s funeral in 1980. Thomas himself would die of heart failure, the same thing Janssen died of, on February 6, 1991 at the age of 79). It was a nice gig for a budding young actress except her lovely face was never shown, just her voice and legs. And her work wasn’t even credited. Go figure. 
   She guest starred on lots of T.V. shows after that strenuous job, gaining experience with each.
   She appeared on “Bronco,” in 1959 with Ty Hardin, “Bourbon Street Beat,” with Richard Long (first credited as Mary Moore),  John Cassavetes’ “Johnny Staccato” (he’s a  jazz pianist and a private detective), in 1960, “Overland Trail,” with the great William "What a revoltin' development this is" Bendix and Doug McClure, “77 Sunset Strip,” with Efrem Zimbalist Jr., “The Millionaire,” “The Tab Hunter Show,” “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” with a youthful Steve McQueen, and just oodles more. 
   Then in 1961 Mary got her big break. The comedian, actor, writer, Rob’s dad, and one of Danny Ocean’s Eleven, Carl Reiner, was casting a new T.V. show based on his own experience  as writer and performer on Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows.” It would star the actor, comedian, writer, singer, and dancer, Dick Van Dyke (who just celebrated his own 89th birthday on the 13th). The show would be produced by Danny Thomas' company (who partnered up with the actor Sheldon Leonard and Tori’s dad, Aaron Spelling), and it was Danny himself who had  recommended her to play the part of Laura Petrie, Van Dyke’s lovely young wife. Thomas had  remembered Mary as "the girl with three names" whom he had turned down earlier.   
   The show  initially aired on CBS from October 3rd, 1961, and ran until June 1st, 1966, for a total of 158 episodes, and was a huge hit, and is considered a classic American television show. I know that’s when I first became aware of Mary’s work, but much later than the rest of the country, as I had to wait to grow up a bit and catch her in syndicated reruns. 
   “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” won 15 Emmy Awards, Mary getting two of them, in 1964 and 1966, for Outstanding Continued Performance By An Actress.   
   The show has  been ranked at 13 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
   Of all of the 158 episodes Mary has singled the second episode of the first season, “My Blonde-Haired Brunette,” as her favorite. Here’s a clip. 
   Here’s a clip of an entire episode entitled “The Curious Thing About Women.”
   Mary’s Laura Petrie’s son was named Richie, just like Mary’s real life son. Coincidence, or cosmic hiccup? I’ll let you decide.
   During the first year of the show Mary was paid $450 American an episode, which doesn’t sound like much for starring in a hit show and all. But it wasn’t a hit at that time, and $450  1961 dollars equals $3,519.19 in today’s. Which still doesn’t sound like enough for her fine work  actually. 
   She would earn more as the years tumbled by.
   Although Mary’s professional life was advancing at a steady clip, her personal life wasn’t as fortunate.
   "During the first year of The Dick Van Dyke Show, as thrilled and bursting with excitement over my work as I was, I was equally without emotion at home," Mary wrote in her 1995 memoir, “After All.” She divorced Dick Meeker in 1961.
   The next year she married television executive Grant Tinker. 
   Later she reflected. “I wish I had gone beyond the loneliness I sometimes felt and taken a look at myself before grasping the very good-looking hand that Grant A. Tinker extended. He was handsome, witty and educated. He was in a power seat too. What could have been more irresistible to an insecure, career-obsessed daddy-seeker? 
   We fell in love and committed ourselves to each other." He had just been offered a job in programming at NBC, and he was thrilled. I said to him at the time, "I bet we're going to be television's golden couple." 
   About her son during this period. "There is no question about it. By the time Richie was 5, I had already let him down. When he needed me the most, I was busier and even more self-concerned than I had been when he was an impressionable infant." 
   After “The Dick Van Dyke Show” ran it’s course, Mary began making films. In 1967 she co-starred with Julie Andrews in the musical/comedy “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” a film I first saw just last week. Directed by “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and “The Sting”s George Roy Hill, the movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards and five Golden Globes. Carol Channing alone made this picture worth watching (she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress). Not a bad start. Here’s the trailer. 
      1968 saw her with “The A Team” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” George Peppard in “What's So Bad About Feeling Good? Nothing that I can see. It’s kind of a cross between  the viral medical films “Outbreak,” and “Contagion,” only a comedy, and no one gets killed as far as I can tell.
   She worked with our friend Robert Wagner that year in “Don't Just Stand There,” which has something to do with a porn novel.
   She also did the obligatory Elvis Presley movie, “Change of Habit,” which concerns three Catholic nuns preparing for their final vows, who are sent to a rough inner city neighborhood dressed as lay missionaries to work at a clinic run by a young doctor. Guess who’s the nun and who’s the doctor. 
   This was Elvis’s last theatrical film, the rest of his movies being concert documentaries. This was Mary’s last film for awhile as well, yet it introduced her to the actor Ed Asner, her future cohort on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and life long friend.
      It was at about this time that Mary was diagnosed with Type I  (insulin dependent) diabetes. She was 33 years old.
   In 2001 she testified before Congress calling for an increase in funding for diabetes research and support of embryonic stem cell research, which she called "truly life affirming." Also present in the hearing room were about 200 children with diabetes and their families, who were in town for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International Children's Congress of 2001.
   “Diabetes is an all-too-personal time bomb which can go off today, tomorrow, next year, or 10 years from now - a time bomb affecting millions like me and the children here today.”
   This of course would affect her health for the rest of her life, especially her eyesight. She began hitting the sauce as well, which never seems to help matters.
   In 1970 Mary was offered a half-hour sitcom spot on CBS. She and Grant had founded MTM the year before which produced the program. Tinker hired  James L Brooks (Brooks would go on to become a hugely successful film producer and director, some of his projects being “Terms of Endearment,” “As Good as It Gets,” and “Spanglish.” He was also partly responsible for Matt Groening creating “The Simpsons”) and Allan Burns to create the show, which became “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (MTMS).
   “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” was about a 30 year old, never married woman who comes to the big city to make good... on her own... without a guy to help her out... by herself. That premise in itself, at the time, made the show unique. 
   Geof Hammill of the Museum of Broadcast Communications has said, "As Mary Richards, a single woman in her thirties, Moore presented a character different from other single TV women of the time. She was not widowed or divorced or seeking a man to support her."  
   He also said the show was "one of the most acclaimed television programs ever produced" in US television history.
   So Mary now had two, not one but two, classic television shows under her belt. Most people don’t have any!
   The show ran on  CBS from September 19th, 1970 to March 19th, 1977, for a total 168 episodes. It would win Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row (1975–77). It would win a total of 29 Emmy Awards, a record unbroken until “Frasier” got 30 in 2002,  a show I’ve never watched for some reason. Mary won 4 Emmys, 3 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and 1 for Actress of the Year: Series. She won a Golden Globe Award in 1971 for Best Actress/Comedy. The show won a a Peabody Award in it’s final season, which upon presentation they said  MTM Enterprises had "established the benchmark by which all situation comedies must be judged" and lauded the show "for a consistent standard of excellence – and for a sympathetic portrayal of a career woman in today's changing society"       
   I know I sure liked the show. In my late teens when it aired my friends and I would stop whatever we were doing on Saturday nights to watch the CBS lineup which consisted of  MTMS at nine, followed by “The Bob Newhart Show” at nine thirty, rounded up with “The Carol Burnett Show,” at ten, and “Saturday Night Live” at eleven thirty. Of course SNL was on NBC, but we didn’t mind getting up to change the channel. We’d probably be drinking and smoking various substances while watching it. I wouldn’t recommend that these days. 
   Here’s a clip from my favorite episode entitled “Chuckles Bites the Dust,” from which the quote at the top of this post comes from. 
   Here’s an entire episode entitled “Neighbors.” Enjoy.
   Mary on throwing her hat in the air for the title shots for MTMS: "It was a hat that my aunt had given me for Christmas, and I brought it with me because they said: 'Be sure and dress warm. It's going to be freezing in Minneapolis.' So - I forget which writer it was - but we were all outside, and he said: 'You know what would be good? If you take that hat, the beret, and throw it in the air.' "
   That episode “Chuckles bites the Dust.” It won an Emmy for writing. The guy who wrote it was David Lloyd. He wrote for a lot of other shows as well, like “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Taxi,” “Cheers,” “Frasier,” and “Wings.” One of his sons is named Christopher. Christopher followed in his father’s footsteps and began writing for “The Golden Girls, then went on to produce sitcoms like “Frasier,” and now “Modern Family.” You may have heard of it. Christopher’s won nine Emmys.
   After MTMS ran it’s course, Mary tried a comedy/variety show in the same vein as “The Carol Burnet Show,” It was called “Mary.” There were comedy sketches and musical numbers. Mary talked to the audience, answered questions. tugged on her ear. It featured a guy named Michael Keaton. He would go on to play Batman. “Mary” would only last for 3 episodes.
   She would attempt that genre again the next year with a show called  “The Mary Tyler Moore Hour.” This time she played an actress, Mary McKinnon, who starred in a variety show. Michael Keaton helped her out again. It would show her producing the show each week basically. It had a new celebrity guest each week. Lucille Ball appeared on it once. Dick Van Dyke too.
   It lasted for 11 episodes.
   Mary went back to films in 1980, “Ordinary People,” specifically. Robert Redford’s very first directorial effort. It was a drama, a genre Mary was not known for. Her co-stars were Donald Sutherland, Judd Hirsch from “Taxi”, “Blade Runner”s M. Emmet Walsh, and Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovern in their very first roles. 
   On being cast for this film: "I was thinking of my own family history and how we missed the mark of being everything that I'm sure people thought I was. Because I had, though nothing that would raise your eyebrows. I had problems with my father, in that he expected more from me than I was able to give. I did not do well in school, and that was a big disappointment to him. [on the other hand,] we did our shows, both the The Dick Van Dyke Show and mine, in front of audiences, and he and my mother would come to every show. And I could recognize my father's laugh."
   Mary played an emotionally unavailable mother to Timothy Hutton. She may have blamed him for the death her eldest son, Timothy’s brother, who died in a boating accident in which Timothy was involved. It is 124 minutes long, and I just saw it for the first time the other night too, and you can feel each and every minute pass by and be lost to eternity. It’s a very fine film. It won a Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards, winning over Scorsese‘s “Raging Bull” for God’s sake. Redford won for Best Director. Hutton for Best Supporting Actor. Sutherland got robbed and wasn’t nominated. Mary was and lost to Sissy Spacek. All the critics loved it, and put it on their best pictures of all time lists. 
   I highly recommend “Ordinary People,” especially to those who suffer from severe depression.
   Sometimes art imitates life. In this instance the similarities are nothing less than eerie. Here’s a montage concerning her character, Beth Jarrett.
   Throughout her life Mary had put most of her energies into her career, with devastatingly successful results. As we’ve already seen this affected her relation ship with her son. She, like her character in “Ordinary People,” was emotionally unavailable to her son. Like in the film her marriage suffered.  
   “One night in 1973, after dinner and an argument, he said he thought we should separate, that we had ‘poisoned the marriage.’ Perhaps 11½ years was all we had in us, he concluded. My face flushed, and my mouth went dry. I headed to my bathroom, dropped to my knees and began crying—loud childlike sobs—and screaming ‘No’ over and over. After a while I became aware that I was pounding on the carpeted floor with my fists. It was the tantrum I was never allowed as a child. 
   After reassuring the dogs, who'd come rushing to my rescue, I got up and joined Grant for a Grand Marnier at the bar. I said, ‘I'd like you to have your things out of here in two days.’ As we got into bed that night, I asked him if he would put his arms around me for a while. He did. The next morning, except for having had separate breakfasts, we left for the studio as always.”     
   Mary’s dependence on alcohol increased.    
   So did her son’s... and other things.
   “It wasn't until a frantic, sobbing Richie called home in February 1973, begging sanctuary from a cocaine dealer who had threatened to kill him over some unpaid debts, that I realized the extent of the tangle that was now my son's life. We were fortunate to find a doctor who specialized in young people. It was on the condition that he see this doctor that my emaciated, frightened prodigal came home. During the next two years he got himself straight and finished high school. I wasn't able to attend the graduation ceremony that was such a triumph for him. I was taping my show.”
   Grant and I “went to a therapist once, but the thought of entering into a process of truth-telling in front of a complete stranger was more than Grant could allow. It was during this time that I had my first affair.
   I met him on the set of Ordinary People after the shooting had begun. [Moore will not identify the man.] When he touched me that first time with such intense passion and curiosity, I thought I'd die from pleasure. In our lucid moments, we reminded ourselves that this was the heartfelt yet temporary phenomenon of location shooting. He had a longtime commitment and wasn't interested in changing that life. 
   As for me, there was no question that my marriage was over. I was loving a man who desired me and who awakened an appetite I'd never experienced, and the world was not coming to an end because of it. The Catholic in me was convinced that I was committing a mortal sin. On the other side of the ledger was the undeniable affirmation that I was an appealing woman. I had forgotten. When I returned to Los Angeles for Christmas, I found out there was someone else in Grant's life now. We'd moved on in mute concert.” 
   Mary and Grant separated in 1980, and she moved to New York City to start a new life. 
   “Not surprisingly, during that summer the distillation of my growing alcoholism took place. Even though I was accomplishing things by myself, it was all so uncomfortable that I anesthetized myself at the end of the day. Nothing was so tough I couldn't get through it until 5:30 or 6. Then the effects of vodka on the rocks made it all go away. 
   In the spirit of the grand adventure in Manhattan, I took to making margaritas in the blender. My recipe was a quarter of a blender of bottled mix, one quarter of ice, one half of tequila and shake it up, baby! It had the consistency of a milk shake and the effect of morphine. 
   I loved to take it to my bed. The phone rested on a large table, as did the TV Everything I needed was within reach. My life from 6 'til 8 p.m. was spent looking at pictures of people in magazines doing the things I thought would be fun—boating, skiing, dancing with the new man who would allow me to soar, as I did now from the drinks. 
   On Oct. 15, 1980, at 5 a.m., the phone awakened me. It was Grant. ‘If you're standing, you should sit down.’ 
   ‘I am sitting,’ I said. 
   ‘It's Richie. He's dead.’ 
   I shouted into the phone, ‘What do you mean?’ My body and mind were struggling to comprehend what he was saying. Richie's housemate told Grant that my son had been sitting on his bed watching TV with a gun in his hand. Then the gunshot. 
   It could not be true. Could he be here for 24 years and then irreversibly cease to exist? My sobs were those of panic. I called a friend to help get me on a plane to Los Angeles. Maybe when the plane landed it would all be different—a mistake. I called Grant back for the details: Richie had been holding a gun. The wound, where? Face. Did he live for any time? Death en route to a hospital. 
   A formal investigation by the Los Angeles Coroner's Office later confirmed that his death was accidental. Richie collected guns and kept some on his bedroom wall. He had been toying with one of them, a gun called a Snake Charmer, when it went off. It was eventually taken off the market because of its "hair-trigger" instability. 
   We held the service outdoors, the coffin resting under a vast oak tree. The next day a funeral director brought Richie's ashes to me. His father, Dick, Grant and I, holding the remains of my son close to my belly, boarded a private plane that took us north to Mammoth Airport, where a rental car was waiting. Dick drove us to a place near the Owens River. We walked to a small bridge where father and son had spent some very happy times. Grant and Dick stood together on the bank as I made my way to the bridge. 
   It was a sunny day. The water was clear and high as I knelt over it. I opened the container and emptied it into the rushing water. What was meant to be a prayer became an outraged demand. ‘You take care of him,’ I screamed at the sky.” 

   Mary would eventually check herself in to the Betty Ford Clinic to get some help. 
   Some time later she would take her mother to a hospital where she met Dr. Robert Levine, her mother’s doctor. 
   They were married on November 23rd, 1983, and remain married to this day.
   Okay, back at work, Mary tried another drama in 1982, this time with the comedian Dudley Moore. That’s right. Two comedic Moore’s in a drama. The film was called “Six Weeks,” and it didn’t do well.
   In 1985 Mary went back to television with another show called “Mary,” this time a half hour filmed sitcom about a fortyish divorcée working at a second rate tabloid in Chicago. Her co-stars included James Farentino, the diabolical John Astin, and a young, pre-Bundy, Katey Sagal. It lasted a full season I guess, 13 episodes at least. 
   She played Mary Todd Lincoln in the 1987 mini-series, “Lincoln.” Guest starred on “Frasier,” in 1994. Tried her hand in a dramatic television series in 1995‘s “New York News,” with Gregory Harrison and the lovely and talented Madeline Kahn, who sadly passed away four years later at the end of 1999. This show ran for one season.
   In 1992 she finally received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. near LA Fitness and the CVS pharmacy. Dick Van Dyke’s star is nearby.
   The next year she would appear in a wonderful comedy, “Silver Linings Playbook/American Hustle” David O. Russell written and directed “Flirting with Disaster,” along with Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni (what kind of name is Tea anyway... damn foreigners), George Segal, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, Josh Brolin, and the lovely and talented Richard Jenkins, who couldn’t stop himself from dropping acid through out. This movie is so good I think I’ll watch it tonight in honor of Mary’s birthday. Here’s a clip (warning! Boobies are involved).
   In 1997 she worked with Téa again in 4 episodes of her T.V. show, “The Naked Truth,” a comedy. Mary animated herself and appeared as the Reverend Karen Stroup on “King of the Hill,” in 1999. In 2000 she reunited with fellow MTMS cast mate Valerie Harper, in the T.V. movie “Mary and Rhoda,” in which they involve themselves in some daughter swapping... I think.
   Mary was on hand when a bronze statue capturing her character Mary's signature hat-toss, went on display on May 8, 2002 at the Minneapolis intersection where the scene for Mary Tyler Moore was originally filmed. For the event she tossed her tam (a type of bonnet originating from Scotland), into the appreciative crowd.
      While working in the Neil Simon play “Rose’s Dilemma,” in December of 2003, Mary received an exceptionally rude letter from the author. Something along the line of “Memorize your lines or get the _ _ _ _ off of my play.” Mary got the _ _ _ _ off of his play and walked out, and was replaced by another actress. But it seems the problem wasn’t with Mary. The problem was that Neil kept changing the lines, so much so that Mary had to have them fed to her via earplug. The play sucked anyway, and closed within two months. Not one of Mr. Simon’s better efforts. 
   Take a pill Neil.
   She reunited with her former T.V. husband... again, Dick van Dyke, in that year's “The Gin Game,” a two person play written by Donald L. Coburn, which aired on the USA cable network. I highly recommend it as it presents these two seasoned actors as you’ve never seen them before. Warning! There’s some strong language if I remember correctly. You might want to pull out the old ear muffs for this one.
   They reunited, yes, again, the very next year in “The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited,” a hour long T.V. movie, in which they revert back to the familiar characters of Rob and Laura Petrie.  Rose Marie, Larry Mathews, who played the Petrie’s son Richie, Jerry Van Dyke, Ray Romano, and Carl Reiner make an appearance.
   In 2006 Mary guest starred on three episodes of “That 70s Show,” another of my favorite sitcoms. The show was filmed on the same sound stage where “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was filmed in the 70s. She arrived for her first day's filming to find a huge WELCOME BACK MARY! banner waiting for her. Wasn’t that nice?
   In 2011 she had surgery to remove a meningioma, which as every fourth grader knows  is a diverse set of tumors arising from the meninges, the membranous layers surrounding the central nervous system. They arise from the arachnoid "cap" cells of the arachnoid villi in the meninges. These tumors usually are benign in nature; however, a small percentage are malignant. Mary’s was benign.
   In 2011 and 2013 respectively she appeared in two episodes of “Hot in Cleveland,” reuniting her with her MTMS co-star, Betty White, who has similar characteristics as the Energizer Bunny. She keeps going, and going, and going. Here’s a clip.      
   We’re getting close to the end I’m afraid. Let’s see, what else?
   Mary is a strong animal rights activist, in that she doesn’t like them eaten.  She has worked with Farm Sanctuary to raise awareness about the cruelty of factory farming and to promote the compassionate treatment of chickens and pigs. 
   But not cows.
   She’s a vegetarian.
   She’s a cat lady. She herself has adopted over 132 cats that live with her at her ranch.
   Until now I didn’t know she had a ranch.
   She used to smoke though, quite a bit. I don’t know if she still does. Probably not. We tend to gain wisdom when we age, except politically.
   Mary supports embryonic stem cell research, which is a rather humanitarian, and therefore a liberal position to take. Her dear friend Ed Asner though has hinted that lately Mary has leaned more to the conservative side. Many do as they get older. I don’t know why. She herself has said she likes to watch Fox so-called News. 
   Step back from the Dark Side Ms Moore. Come back into the light. 
   The National Enquirer has reported the Mary is close to death. Every other media source reports the opposite, except of course for the continuing effects of her diabetes and advancing age. But that’s to be expected. Indeed the IMDB tells me she’s working on a future project with Bob Newhart and Debbie Reynolds, entitled “Big Finish,” which is in pre production. 
   That’s good.
   Here’s some interviews with the Archive of American Television.
   And MTM logos.
   Her name in Elvish is Linwë Melwasúl.
   And finally, all of us here at Joyce’s Take wish Mary and her family and friends continued prosperity and happiness, and a very happy birthday.
   Happy Birthday Mary!

Addendum 1-25-17: I'm very sad today. Ms Moore passed away at te age of 80 from  cardiopulmonary arrest after she had contracted pneumonia. She died in hospital, surrounded by friends, family, and her husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine. May she rest in piece.

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