RIP, Mary Tyler Moore

Dead at 80.

I actually met Mary Tyler Moore a couple times a lifetime ago when I worked in a restaurant in Millbrook, NY (circa 1988) called Allyn’s Restaurant. All I really remember of her was that she had these enormous glasses that made her eyes look like half dollar coins (she was farsighted) and that she got really upset if her vegetable orders were prepared any way other than steaming. The chef and owner was a guy named Allan Katz (and his wife Denise). I learned a lot about life from him. I was just a young kid working as a busboy/barback/dishwasher, but he treated me well and I always looked forward to sitting around the patio at night listening to all the cooks and the bartender Marty (he was a character and really knew how to make a drink) and Allan and Denise talk after I sneaked around back and got stoned with some of the cooks.

You should be good to kids who are 16-18 and recognize that while they are still kids in many regards they are also young adults, and they pick up a lot on how you are supposed to treat people and how you are supposed to look at life. I was like a sponge. I was lucky I was around a lot of good people. Here’s a bio on Allan from the CIA (the good one). He seems to be running a not for profit dog treat company called Good Reasons that hires the disabled. That’s not even remotely surprising.

82 replies
  1. 1
    Yarrow says:

    Mary Tyler Moore was a great comedic actress. Always enjoyed her sitcoms. RIP.

  2. 2
    laura says:

    I’d heard that she was ill and would possibly be the last celebrity to pass in 2016.
    My mother was always compared to her because of her guilelessness and sunny optimism. While it was meant as a slight, she wore the comparison as a badge of honor.
    When I saw the news flash, I couldn’t help but think of the episode involving the funeral of Chuckles the Clown.
    Mary Tyler Moore RIP.

  3. 3
    ms_canadada says:

    “Oh, Rob!” Mary, you will be missed. RIP

  4. 4
    khead says:

    I like spunk*. I married it.

    * – The MTM definition. Not the Urban Dictionary definition.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    p.a. says:

    …you can get anything you want, at Allyn’s restaurant…

  7. 7
    raven says:

    I saw Butch Trucks with the Allman Brothers twice before Duane and Barry died.

  8. 8

    The one in Langley is not bad either.

  9. 9
    Brachiator says:

    My new thing is, “did this actress ever appear in an Elvis movie?”

    Yep. Mary Tyler Moore appeared in “Change of Habit.”

    A great actress. And like James Garner and a couple of others, tremendously likable on TV.

    ETA: And Mary Tyler Moore in her Capri pants on the “Dick Van Dyke” show helped many a young boy through puberty. Just sayin’

  10. 10
    trollhattan says:

    Damn, she was always a pro’s pro and wow, did the camera ever love her. Having fought diabetes most of her life I’m not surprised she was persnickety about her meal prep.

    R.I.P. Mary/Laura Petrie

  11. 11
    Keith G says:

    Good bit of writing, John!

    If all here have the ability, the former Obama aides who run Crooked Media are going live in a few minutes (1 PM Pacific Time) on Facebook:

    Tommy Vietor Verified account

    Friends of the Pod. We’re going to do a quick FB Live conversation about today’s Trump news at 1pm PT. Come hang:

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:


    She had a huge fight with the network to be allowed to wear those pants. Her argument was that there was no way that Laura Petrie would do housework in a dress and heels.

    The eventual compromise was that she could wear them in one scene per episode, and television history was made.

  13. 13
    Slaughter says:

    @Brachiator: Those pants? Oh, did they ever!

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Brachiator says:


    The eventual compromise was that she could wear them in one scene per episode, and television history was made.

    Network bosses are such idiots.

    Apart from the sexiness, the pants made Laura Petrie come across as more contemporary, and less matronly than the typical tv mom/housewife. And it let her move around more freely, and was a much better complement to the loose and physically relaxed Dick Van Dyke.

    The other craziness is that the networks didn’t realize what tremendous assets Moore’s legs were. And they weren’t paying attention to one of her earlier TV roles:

    Moore’s first regular television role was as a mysterious and glamorous telephone receptionist on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. On the show, Moore’s voice was heard, but only her shapely legs appeared on camera, adding to the character’s mystique.

    I think her character’s name was Sam.

  16. 16
    David Hunt says:

    Saw the news and had an irresistible urge to look up the lyrics to It’s a Long Way to Tipperary. When I get home from work I’ll play it in her honor.

  17. 17
    dogwood says:

    She wasn’t just a great comedic actress; her performance in Ordinary People is is amazing.

  18. 18
    mai naem mobile says:

    I really enjoyed the Duck Van Dyke show. She was a really good comedic actress. RIP. She did good to survive to 80 with Type 1 diabetes with the treatments that weren’t available till two or thrwe decades ago.

  19. 19
    Steeplejack says:


    Good choice. The slightly odd meter highlights the drumming.

    I used to have a picture of me at Duane’s grave in Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon. Nearby was another headstone:

    Elizabeth Jones Reed
    loving wife of
    Briggs H. Napier

    RIP, Butch.

  20. 20
    ThresherK says:

    MTM and Grant Tinker (ran MTM) in two months.

    I’m not saying anything to jinx anyone.

  21. 21
    Yarrow says:

    @dogwood: True enough. I remember her most for her comedies, but she was great all around.

    The team of Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore was just unbeatable. I loved that show.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:


    As with most American censorship, it was more about keeping women subordinate than making them realistic.

    Like Mary Pickford and Donna Reed, Moore was America’s Sweetheart onscreen and one tough cookie offscreen. She broke down a lot of barriers for women in TV.

  23. 23
    J R in WV says:

    The shows she was in always seemed preposterous to me, plots of tissue, wet as well as thin. But she always impressed me as a good person, kind and thoughtful. She carried those shows, to me. Dick van Dyke was just making a living being goofy, Ms Moore was an actress.

    I guess every generation has this kind of outpouring of loss eventually.

    I also saw where Butch Trucks, beat drummer for the Allman Brothers Band has died at 69, he is the uncle of Derek Trucks, guitarist with the Tedeschi-Trucks band, with his wife Susan Dedeschi. Look them up if you haven’t heard them.

  24. 24
    Yarrow says:

    @raven: Nice. Thanks.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    trollhattan says:

    Dick Van Dyke show was well ahead of its time, especially built as it was around the show-in-a-show concept. Carl Reiner, of course, had a lot to do with its success but without its stars it would never have taken off.

    Stay with us, Carl, even at 94 we need you!

  27. 27
    Fair Economist says:

    The MTM show was one of the touchstones of my childhood. I really enjoyed her work. She’ll be missed.

  28. 28
    zhena gogolia says:

    RIP. I loved both the Dick van Dyke show and the MTM show. I’d stay in every Saturday night all through college to watch it before I could go out!

  29. 29
    Immanentize says:

    @raven: I salute you! I know that makes you an old, but what a group!

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    Frank Zappa used to do both a straight version of “Whippin’ Post” and a hilarious mashup with “Montana” (“Whipping Floss”).

  31. 31
    Alain the site fixer says:

    Comment numbers, etc .back.
    Back button works (hurrah!)
    Read More works.

    More coming.

  32. 32
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @trollhattan: that is one fine song, that is. Not the biggest Frank fan, but that gets my silly groove on

  33. 33

    I read that originally in the old MTM show, the character was supposed to be divorced, but someone said that was too scandalous. How times change.

  34. 34
  35. 35
    zhena gogolia says:


    Very sweet, thanks. La La Land, eat your heart out!

  36. 36
    Yarrow says:

    @Alain the site fixer: Thanks for your work, Alain.

  37. 37
    Brachiator says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    I read that originally in the old MTM show, the character was supposed to be divorced, but someone said that was too scandalous.

    They also didn’t want people to think that she had somehow “divorced” Dick Van Dyke. Weird TV thinking.

  38. 38
    Immanentize says:

    @trollhattan: Anyone else here a Wild Man Fisher fan?

  39. 39
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    When I leave work today I am going to throw my hat in the air in her honor.

  40. 40
    Alain the site fixer says:

    So far so good. Things are looking better and I moved some resources to child theme so less upkeep next time…hopefully. More to go of course but soon I’ll take a small breather to rest my already-tired eyes.

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    “My name is Larry…”

  42. 42
    ThresherK says:

    @Alain the site fixer: Thanks. I noticed that now whereas I posted ~20min ago that they weren’t.

    @Iowa Old Lady: Some point when the MTM Show was well in the past (late 80s?) I read a critic describing Mary’s character as “A woman who would sleep with a man she wasn’t absolutely in love with.” (Implied was “…and didn’t have designs on marrying.”)

    For Mary Richards, Respectable Career Woman, this may not have been her defining characteristic, but it really mattered filling in the spaces of her persona and was forward for the times.

  43. 43
    HeleninEire says:

    Truly I owe her a lot. Mary Richards was who I wanted to be but I had no role models in real life. She was my role model. I watched her religiously and to this day if I can catch a rerun I do. RIP.

  44. 44
    Mnemosyne says:


    It was originally supposed to star Reiner, but executives decided he was too Jewish. Being Reiner, he cast the super-WASPy Van Dyke and Moore and kept the exact same dialogue, which is why Van Dyke makes a lot of references that a goy at the time probably wouldn’t have known.

  45. 45
    Immanentize says:

    @trollhattan: I have his excellent two record debut album — which has a picture of him knifing a lifesize cardboard stand-up of his mom. The album of course includes my favorite song ever (which I used to sing to my son) “Monkeys versus Donkeys.”

  46. 46
    Immanentize says:

    @Mnemosyne: But they slipped Rhoda into MTM….

  47. 47
    dogwood says:

    @Ridnik Chrome:
    Nice. Lots of nostalgia surrounding MTM for us older folks. I had that same feeling of nostalgia watching SNL’s “To Sir, With Love” send off for President Obama. I expected to lose it several times in the last week of his presidency, but I held it together pretty well. The SNL piece finally sent me over the cliff.

  48. 48
    sherparick says:

    One things that people growing up in the 90s and Oughts probably can’t put there heads around is that boomers households had only one TV and we all watched Rob and Laura on the Dick Van Dyke Show as family. My Mom, a generation older then MTM had been a single career woman in the news business before getting married and having me and my brother and sister. She loved the MTM show in the seventies as it seem to reenact life. She cried a bit when it went off the air. It is hard to get around the idea that MTM is 80 as she will always be that 30 something single woman in my head. RIP and thanks for the memories.

  49. 49
    raven says:

    @sherparick: She was a nice person but the people I hung with sure were not watching her show on Saturday nights in the 70’s.

  50. 50
    Immanentize says:

    @Mnemosyne: And really, Rob’s entire writing team was so clearly Jewish. But he was the boss….
    And then there was little Ritchie…. Fun (but useless) fact — the actor who played Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon) was from my home town, as was Rod Serling.

  51. 51
    The Moar You Know says:

    Capri pants. Oh my. The MTM had long gone off the air and into rare syndication by the time I was born, so it was something my parents had watched when they were teens, more or less. So I never saw it as a kid, too busy watching Star Trek reruns. Knew about it, but never saw it.

    Come home from college classes one day and one of my roomies was watching it on the teevee machine we had back then and just stopped cold, saying to myself “Christ, that woman has a stunning ass”. Because she did. Which was not something I associated with the old black and white TV programs. And then the rest of her was stunning too! And she wasn’t playing some bullshit 50s TV character, she talked back to her husband and was a smartass and had a life going on…I was floored. Very atypical female character and you really didn’t see anyone like that on TV until the late 80s/early 90s, and even then, I can’t think of many TV characters who radiated sheer class the way she did.

  52. 52
    Brachiator says:


    Nice. Lots of nostalgia surrounding MTM for us older folks. I had that same feeling of nostalgia watching SNL’s “To Sir, With Love” send off for President Obama. I expected to lose it several times in the last week of his presidency, but I held it together pretty well. The SNL piece finally sent me over the cliff.

    A bit of trivia.

    “To Sir, With Love” was based on the life of Eustace Edward Ricardo Braithwaite, who died just last year, December 12, 2016.

    James Clavell, of Shogun fame, wrote and directed the film about his life.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:


    Truly I owe her a lot. Mary Richards was who I wanted to be but I had no role models in real life. She was my role model. I watched her religiously and to this day if I can catch a rerun I do. RIP.

    My sister used both Mary Tyler Moore and Marlo Thomas as role models, to a small (or more) degree.

  54. 54
    Immanentize says:

    @Brachiator: Thank you, Brach. I just learned that South Africa used to have a visa category of “honorary white.”

    This is tomorrow….

  55. 55
    Schlemazel says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    She appealed to me as a mom way more than Lorreta Young, Jayne Wyatt or Barbra Billingsly even though my mom was quiet a bit older than MTM. The character was way ahead of its time.

    There is something about independent women that appeals to me. WHile MTM was cute I was much more interested in Emma Peale from “The Avengers” She hung around & helped a guy but she could do it herself if need be. I married a girl like that & am very grateful

  56. 56
    NeenerNeener says:

    @Immanentize: You’re from Binghamton, The Cloud Capital of the Universe? Me too!

  57. 57
    ThresherK says:

    @Immanentize: Upstate New York, maybe Ithaca?. NeenerNeener has the info I lack.

    I couldn’t recall but Serling’s “Cayuga Productions” is a bit of a giveaway. I went on the Erie Canal bicycle tour and was amazed at how many towns had bandstands on the village green. Until on further reflection, I realized “bandstands on the village green” shows up too many Twilight Zones to be random.

  58. 58
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    I loved Dick Van Dyke and MTM growing up. But the last acting news I heard about Mary was really sad: she was fired from some Broadway production (I think it might have been Neil Simon) because she could no longer remember lines. They tried some sort of headset arrangement but that just made things worse, throwing off everybody’s timing.

    And this was some years ago. So I can readily imagine her health hasn’t been too great the last 10 years or so.

  59. 59
    Mike J says:

    SEA Mayor’s Office Retweeted
    Ed Murray ‏@MayorEdMurray 34 minutes ago

    We won’t be bullied into enforcing unconstitutional immigration policies and have the law on our side.

    “Police leaders around the country are aligned on this issue” – @SeattlePD Chief O’Toole says of law enforcement serving ALL residents

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:


    Thank you, Brach. I just learned that South Africa used to have a visa category of “honorary white.”

    Crazy, isn’t it. The weird way that South African apartheid, or American Jim Crow, twisted itself inside out to try to rationalize racism and make it palatable.

    Braithwaite’s difficulties in ever finding a job suitable to his talents reminds me of the current film, Hidden Figures. World class mathematicians were expected to be at best high school teachers, just because they happened to be black women.

  61. 61
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @Immanentize: Valerie Harper who I just learned is still with us. Apparently she beat the “incurable” cancer that was supposed to kill her in 2013. She was the one I fell in love with on that show. I’ve always had a thing for the New York accent (“Hi Mair!”) There is endless speculation in our household as to how big a factor that was in marrying my wife, and whether I would have had the same reaction on meeting her if she were from, say, North Carolina instead.

  62. 62
    NeenerNeener says:

    Another useless (and not so funny anymore) fact: Mel Gibson’s family lived in my school district when he was nine. If they hadn’t moved to Australia I would have gone to high school with Mel.

  63. 63
    PST says:

    MTM was great in one of the funniest movies ever, the infinitely rewatchable “Flirting with Disaster,” playing Ben Stiller’s horrid, spiteful mother. She still looked every inch Mary Richards 20 years ago.

  64. 64
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Mike J:

    That’s heartening.

  65. 65
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:

    I loved Dick Van Dyke and MTM growing up.

    I did too, although I was fully grown (late 20s-mid 30s) during the MTM years, and 18 or 19 when DVD was first on the air. But I adored both shows and have seen them many times since then in syndication. With very few exceptions, just about every episode holds up astonishingly well.

    But I made the mistake of watching reunion specials of both programs, and I wish I hadn’t. How much of it was just the general awfulness of most “cast reunion” shows, and how much was due to Mary Tyler Moore’s specific problems with lines, timing, balance, etc., I cannot say.

    Anyhow, I’d rather remember her for her two deservedly iconic roles of Laura Petrie and Mary Richards, and for her tour de force performance as the tightly-wrapped, grieving, in-huge-denial mother in Ordinary People.

  66. 66
    Immanentize says:

    @NeenerNeener: Hell yeah! Endwell, actually…

  67. 67
    Just One More Canuck says:

    A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants – one of the funniest scenes ever

  68. 68
    NeenerNeener says:

    Immanentize: Port Dickinson/Hillcrest area for me.

  69. 69
    rikyrah says:

    RIP MTM.

    She caught lightening in a bottle TWICE in her career.

    When you look at the talent on both of her shows, amazing.

    Also appreciated all the philanthropic work she did on behalf of diabetes. Before her, nobody in the spotlight had talked about it.

  70. 70
    rikyrah says:

    I remember on the Dick Van Dyke show, the episode where they explained to the son how his middle name wound up being ROSEBUD.



  71. 71
    zhena gogolia says:


    Really good one!

  72. 72
    rikyrah says:

    Another thing about MTM, she was part of a Power Couple before it became a thing. She wouldn’t have accomplished what she did without Grant Tinker having her back – professionally and personally.

    RIP, MTM

  73. 73
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    jharp says:

    Me and my young buddies were very much into Mary Tyler Moore. I suppose it was around 1970 or so.

    May she rest in peace.

  75. 75
    Mnemosyne says:


    And if they were black women, the best they could hope for was to teach at a segregated high school, to boot.

  76. 76
    dp says:

    God, I loved her when I was a kid. So talented. RIP Mary.

  77. 77
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    She wouldn’t have accomplished what she did without Grant Tinker having her back – professionally and personally.

    Probably true. And arguably, Grant Tinker wouldn’t have had the success he enjoyed as a producer and network executive without Mary Tyler Moore’s fronting for him.

  78. 78
    5x5 says:

    @Mnemosyne: The pilot with Reiner was awful. It had none of the charm of the DVD show.

    The plot and the lines were reused in the DVD show, but it was night and day.

  79. 79
    amk says:

    MTM was my must watch teevee from ’83 to 85 when I studied in good ole us of a and started my addiction to sitcoms. Even then Betty White was great. All my friends were addicted to MASH and we used argue about which is the best show. RIP, Mary Richards.

  80. 80
    5x5 says:

    I’m watching “The Lars Affair.” I think it’s my favorite. Mary, Rhoda, Phyllis, and Sue Ann – all of them are so good.

    The Dick Van Dyke Show is the best sit-com, ever. I’ve seen every episode a brazilian times and still laugh.

  81. 81
    OGLiberal says:

    What I find pretty interesting is that even though MTM was 80, most of her co-stars are still alive. Dick Van Dyke, Ed Asner, Betty White, Valerie Harper, Captain Steubing, Cloris Leachman, Carl Reiner, John Amos, Georgette…none spring chickens and all still there. But while sad, 80 with diabetes is a good run. I loved her in Ordinary People. Too young for her sitcoms but really need to watch old MTM episodes at some point, even if just for the cast. Ted Knight, the only major cast member who pre-deceased MTM, was probably the best member of the Caddyshack cast…and Caddyshack was a key part of my youth.

  82. 82
    The Pale Scot says:

    Getting a job with a small business when you’re young is vanishing privilege. You learn a lot about people in those environments. My first job (@15) was washing dishes in a tiny restaurant owned by a French chef in a NJ suburb, back when Surf & Turf was the epitome of high cuisine and before Valerie Sinclair changed the business. The staff was from all over the world, one guy named James would take me out drinking (I looked 18) pay someone for a ride to the Village. Smoking hash with NYU students in Washington park until 7am. It was an education.

    Now I’d be dealing with some drone telling how to do it buy rite way

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