Mary Tyler Moore was offered her own sitcom after performing in the 1969 CBS variety special Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman. This was three years after The Dick Van Dyke Show ended. The special was so well received that CBS offered Moore a half-hour slot on their network with a guarantee of 24 episodes.
When they were first thinking of the storyline for Mary Richards, they imagined her to be a recently divorced, 30-year-old who moved out on her own after her husband left her. CBS network researchers shut down the idea and warned the series co-creator Allan Burns that there were four things that viewers would not accept into their living rooms: New Yorkers, Jews, divorced women, and men with mustaches.
3. She Couldn’t Keep A Straight Face During The Chuckles The Clown Episode
One of the best episodes ever was the “Chuckles Bites The Dust” episode. She was struggling to not laugh throughout the entire thing and she said her cheeks were almost raw from biting them so hard to keep a straight face.
4. She Got Her Start In Appliance Commercials
She was the mascot, “Happy Hotpoint” for Hotpoint Appliances when she was just 17 years old. She filmed 39 commercials for them in just five days.
Before she booked the role of Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, she auditioned for the Danny Thomas series Make Room for Daddy. She didn’t book the role, but he remembered her as “the girl with three names” and recommended her to Dick Van Dyke.
Laura Petrie was originally supposed to be the next June Cleaver. Moore insisted on wearing comfortable capri pants because she felt that that was a more realistic representation of the modern housewife in those days.
9. 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' Was A Record Breaking Show
In her book After All, Moore says that she tried to help her brother John commit suicide while he was battling cancer. She would feed him drug-laced ice cream. It didn’t work, but her brother passed away only a few months later.
Moore was Elvis’ love interest in his final movie, Change of Habit. She played a nun in training who was forced to pick between religion or Elvis. The movie also featured Ed Asner and they would later go on to work together on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.