Before “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” lost four cast members in 2021, the show lost its titular Mary Tyler Moore in 2017. She would have turned 85 last month. Of course, the most recent loss of Betty White came as one of the biggest shocks, with the icon passing just before her birthday. She joins Lou Grant actor Ed Asner, Phyllis Lindstrom actress Cloris Leachman, and Murray Slaughter actor Gavin MacLeod somewhere that we’d like to imagine one heck of a group hug is going down.
Betty White only ever had good things to say about her time on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” In fact, she couldn’t even speak about its final episode without getting choked up. The Me TV network shared a sweet video of the late icon ahead of its tribute that they arranged for her. It came from a segment aptly titled “Betty’s Memories from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
You can watch the video in full here:
“So, finally we got to the last episode and we were all such a mess,” Betty started the interview with.
“We were all in this group hug and the very last shot was Mary going out the door and…”
That’s where Betty White started to trail off in the interview because she couldn’t hold back her emotions anymore. It takes her a second before she tries to speak again, tears welling in her eyes.
She then sweetly admits, “I can’t even talk about it without choking up. Even to this day. And that was a long time ago.”
As if we needed any more proof that Betty White was a literal angel, too pure for this world.
Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White Talk About How She Was Cast on the Show
A resurfaced interview from the Archive of American Television shows Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White talking about the casting process. It turns out that Betty joined the cast after Valerie Kathryn Harper left to do her own show. Valerie played Rhoda Morgenstern on the show, for reference.
With Valerie gone, the execs felt that the show needed another female presence. They described their ideal candidate as someone “as sweet as Betty White but as vicious as a barracuda.” At the time, Mary Tyler Moore was already friends with Betty and her husband, Allen, and decided to throw her name in the ring.
“What if she’s not good enough?” one of the execs asked. But Mary Tyler Moore stood up for her friend saying “Everyone would rather be asked [for an audition] and not invited back than never asked at all.”
And that’s what friends are for.