The writer of “Silver Screen Reflections” remembers actress Mary Tyler Moore, who died on Wed., Jan. 25 at the age of 80.
According to a Turner Classic Movies online biography on Moore, she was born on Dec. 29, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York. She moved with her family to Los Angeles at the age of eight and wanted to pursue a career in ballet.
Her earliest role: “Happy Hotpoint”
One of Moore’s earliest roles on television came in 1956, when she played a dancing elf, named “Happy Hotpoint.” According to Lisa Respers France’s retrospective article on Moore for CNN, she played the “Happy Hotpoint” character in a series of advertisements for Hotpoint appliances, which aired during “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”
“The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1961-66)
After playing bit parts in various television shows (including an episode of “77 Sunset Strip” and an episode of Boris Karloff’s “Thriller” series), Moore was cast as Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (Van Dyke played comedy writer Rob Petrie on the series).
According to Mike Barnes’ retrospective on Moore in The Hollywood Reporter, Moore had originally auditioned for the role of Danny Thomas’ older daughter in “The Danny Thomas Show” (also known as “Make Room for Daddy”). In 1961, he suggested to Carl Reiner (who created “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and played TV host Alan Brady on the series) that Moore should play the role of Laura.
With an ensemble cast including Rose Marie (as Sally Rogers), Morey Amsterdam (as Buddy Sorrell), Larry Matthews (as Ritchie Petrie) and Richard Deacon (as Mel Cooley), “The Dick Van Dyke Show” was a smash success for five seasons on CBS. Moore won two Emmy awards for her role of Laura Petrie in 1964 and 1966 (according to IMDB).