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Mary Tyler Moore (TV Series 1970–1977) Poster

(1970–1977)

Trivia

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Producers wanted "someone like Betty White" to play Sue-Anne Nivens. Eventually, someone asked "Why not cast Betty White?"
The show was originally about a divorced woman. Divorce was still a hot subject in 1970, so it changed to a broken engagement. The network was afraid people would think that Mary Tyler Moore had divorced Rob Petrie, her character's husband on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961).
In the opening credits, the two joggers who pass Mary in the park are producers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns. The gray-haired man Mary has lunch with and is later takes an evening walk with is Mary Tyler Moore's then-husband Grant Tinker, president and co-founder of MTM. The woman who scowls at Mary as she tosses her hat is local resident Hazel Frederick.
According to a 2013 interview with Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman on the TV show "The Doctors," this show was the first (scripted) show in TV history ever to use the word "gay" to refer to homosexuality (in the season three episode "My Brother's Keeper") when Rhoda tells Phyllis that Phyllis's brother is gay.
Often, during particularly uproarious episodes, you can hear producer James L. Brooks laughing from the studio audience. He has a very distinct and drawn out "hahhh hahhh hahh" guffaw.
Voted #11 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
Jack Cassidy was offered the role of Ted Baxter. He turned it down because he didn't want to be in the supporting cast of a female-led show. Cassidy later guest starred as Ted's brother.
Gavin MacLeod first auditioned for the part of Lou Grant. Edward Asner gave a terrible reading at his first audition and insisted on a second chance.
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When the famous opening credit sequence was reworked for Season 3-4, the Mary crew was being followed by a news team for the talk show program "Moore on Sunday". Both the news crew and the police officer escorting the Mary team were pressed into service for one of the clips (when the Mary Richards character has to duck to avoid being caught on film as the "news" cameraman swings his camera around in the direction the officer points).
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Betty White was originally only to appear in one episode as Sue Ann Nevins, however, she was promoted to series regular.
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Mary's house, which appears in the opening credits, is still standing in Minneapolis, Minnesota - the city in which the show takes place.
In reality the kitten in the MTM logo is yawning. Since the cameraman couldn't get a usable shot of the cat actually meowing, the footage was used and a meow dubbed in.
A three-minute mini-pilot, titled "Love is All Around," was produced for CBS Network executives in an attempt to sell them on the casting of Edward Asner as Lou Grant.
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W.J.M. stands for "Wild" Jack Monroe. He was the station owner.
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Moore wore a wig for the first season of the show, to make her look less like Laura Petrie, her character on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961). When the wig was discarded, the change in her hairstyle, including her much lighter hair color, was never commented on in the show itself.
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The first stanza of the theme song was rewritten after the first season.
This program has the most Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series - 5.
The photo of Edward Asner playing football on Lou Grant's office wall is the same photo that was used in an episode of The Fugitive (1963) ('Three Cheers for Little Boy Blue') in which Asner guest starred.
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In the opening credits, the shot of Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat into the air was shot at the corner of 7th Street and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. The buildings in the background were destroyed November 25, 1982, by a fire that took out a city block. Many scenes in the opening credits, including riding an escalator and window shopping, were shot within a one-block radius of the spot. In May 2002, TV Land erected a statue of her at that spot, facing the opposite direction.
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Murray was the only member of the WJM news staff who never won a Teddy. Coincidentally, Gavin MacLeod, who played Murray, was the only regular cast member to never be nominated for an Emmy.
The name for the local broadcasting awards on the show were the Teddies, the Television Editors award.
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The fictional address of the Victorian apartment building where Mary, Rhoda and Phyllis live is 119 North Weatherly.
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Richard Schall, who played Howard and Paul Arnell, one of Mary's love interests on several episodes, was married to Valerie Harper in real life.
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The kitten that meows at the end of the closing credits is a parody of the roaring lion that appears at the beginning of MGM films. The kitten, Mimsey, was adopted from a local shelter.
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This was not the first joint venture for Mary Tyler Moore and Edward Asner. Both had previously co-starred in Change of Habit (1969) with Elvis Presley.
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Following the conclusion of the series, Edward Asner continued to play Lou Grant in a long-running dramatic series of the same name.
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Series was filmed on Stage 2 at CBS Studio City
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Dr. Lars Lindstrom, Phyllis's never-seen husband, was a member of the Society of Concerned And Responsible Dermatologists, or SCARD (pronounced "scarred").
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Mary's home telephone number is identified as 555-2312 by Ted in an episode during season four.
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Anne Meara and Reva Rose auditioned for the role of Rhoda Morgenstern.
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Ed Asner is no longer friends with Mary Tyler Moore. "She's a republican. She thinks Sarah Palin's really great".
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Mary Tyler Moore said this about "That Girl" (1966), the groundbreaking feminist girl power sitcom that preceded " The Mary Tyler Moore Show": "Anne Marie opened the door and Mary Richards walked right through it".
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During her hiatus between seasons, Cloris Leachman appeared in The Last Picture Show (1971), based on a novel by Larry McMurtry. Producer James L. Brooks later made his directing debut with another McMurtry adaptation, Terms of Endearment (1983).
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The first time the word "gay" was used on television (to refer to a homosexual, not to be happy). Happened during "Her Brothers Keeper" when Rhoda is explaining why she won't date Phyllis' brother.
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When Woody Allen was putting the final touches on his Academy Award winning film "Annie Hall", he asked his co-star Diane Keaton for reassurance: "Are you sure this is good? I mean it seems like another episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show".
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Mary Tyler Moore is indeed a failed ballet dancer, much like her character. "I'm a failed dancer but a successful actress" she always says in interviews.
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Cloris Leachman and Valerie Harper are actually very close, not enemies like their characters.
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Ed Asner admits there was ongoing competition between the men on the show (him, Gavin McLeod and Ted Knight) to be Mary's favorite actor.
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Ted Knight and Ed Asner were actually very close during the show, not enemies like their characters. Although they did get into a nasty argument after the show wrapped; Ed says Ted wronged him in some egregious manner, he just can't remember what it was. But they didn't speak for years until Ted was stricken with cancer in 1985 and they reconciled at his deathbed.
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Gavin McLeod and Cloris Leachman were actually enemies in real life, much like their characters. In a case of life imitating art, they had worked together before and had a very bad experience, and Cloris was actually uncomfortable with Gavin for the first couple seasons, and didn't want to be near him on the set. Eventually they grew to be friends, though.
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In an EmmyTvLegends interview Nanette Fabray, who played Mary's mother, expressed great disappointment at only appearing on 2 shows, and then not being asked back after that. She was hoping and kind of assuming she would be promoted to a series regular, and she even confronted Mary about it at one point. She did go on to star as the Mom in another CBS comedy about a woman making it on her own: One Day At a Time.
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Robert Moore (no relation to Mary Tyler Moore) who appeared as Ben, Phyllis' brother in the "Her Brother's Keeper" episode, and who also dated Rhoda/Valerie Harper in that episode, would go on to direct Valerie in "Rhoda", the spinoff of MTM. Moore was the subject of Rhoda's famous "He's gay!" punchline, the first time it had ever been said on television. Moore didn't mind because he is gay in real life.
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John Amos appeared as Gordy the Weatherman on MTM until about 1974, when he left to go star on Good Times. In the 1976-1977 season he got fired, at which point he made another appearance as Gordy, the national network's new hero coming back.
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Mary Tyler Moore has said that she wanted to do this series for another couple seasons but the writers and James L Brooks wanted to stop at that point.
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All the men in the cast would star in their own show after MTM wrapped, and they were all hits. Gavin McLeod headlined in "The Love Boat" the same year MTM wrapped, and it was a top 30 show for several years, probably the most popular follow up show of the bunch. Ed Asner starred in the MTM spinoff "Lou Grant" which was in the top 30 for several years. And Ted Knight starred in "Too Close for Comfort" which was also popular for a couple years.
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Ted was originally supposed to be Mary's love interest. Originally they were thinking of Lyle Waggoner for the role. Then Ted Knight, an older man in his 40s, nailed the audition, and at that point, because he was older, and an innapropriate match for Mary, they jettisoned that subplot. They were also thinking of making Lou Mary's ongoing love interest, but Mary Tyler Moore herself vetoed that idea, so they had the characters date and then the romance quickly ended. Murray on the other hand was based on a gay person, someone who was supposed to be Mary's nemesis, and Gavin McLeod played him gay in the pilot; but Mary and him had such chemistry they made the characters friends, and that Mary would be the object of his crush.
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Many critics commented that James L Brooks' film Broadcast News was just another episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show.
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Robbie Rist, who played the infamous cousin Oliver on The Brady Bunch, also played Ted's adoptive son on MTM.
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Mary calls Lou " Mr. Grant", but none of the employees at WJM do, including Sue Anne. Rhoda and Phyllis also call him Lou. The only other person who calls him Mr. Grant is Bess, and she's a child.
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Producers almost didn't hire Valerie Harper because although her performance was spot on, she was too pretty (not really convincing as Mary's frumpy best friend). They decided to dress her in ungainly and frumpy clothing and give her the part anyway.
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Linda Kelsey played Gloria Munson in the episode "A New Sue Anne". She also played Billie Newman in the MTM spinoff "Lou Grant".
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Ed Asner won the "Best Supporting Actor for a Comedy Series" Emmy Award for his portrayal of Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". He also won the "Best Lead Actor for a Drama Series" for playing the title role in "Lou Grant". Asner is the only actor who has won both of those awards for playing the same character.
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In the 70s while the show was in production the MTM writers were invited to a panel on feminism which was moderated by Gloria Steinem. James L. Brooks attended the panel, and was surprised when Gloria Steinem publicly chided Brooks for how Mary always called her boss 'Mr. Grant' while her male colleagues called him Lou.
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MTM writer and producer Allan Burns would direct Mary Tyler Moore in the unsuccessful 1986 dramedy about infidelity "Just Between Friends", co-starring two other iconic tv stars, Ted Danson and Christine Lahti.
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In the episode where Mary got her tonsils removed originally she was going to have a tattoo removed. But the actress refused saying she was a "good catholic girl" and she "couldn't play that", so they changed it to a tonsillectomy.
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Ironically while Mary Tyler Moore is a conservative and a Republican, Dick Van Dyke is a liberal Democrat. Infact he even campaigned with Bernie Sanders.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

After leaving the WJM news staff, Gordy the weatherman became a successful talk show host.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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