Mary Tyler Moore Showed Her Humor Chops in ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ Alongside Steve McQueen

by Taylor Cunningham

Mary Tyler Moore may have been famous for her dramatic flair on film. But she also had a comedic side that she showcased in a handful of classic TV hits during her career.

One of her notable performances came during a short scene in a Wanted Dead or Alive episode titled The Twain Shall Meet. The story followed a Boston reporter named Arthur who helps Josh Randall, Steve McQueen’s bounty hunter, write an op-ed about his profession.

While sitting in a saloon one night, Arthur runs into a young woman—played by Mary Tyler Moore. And she proceeds to share a hilariously over-the-top sob story with him. Her tellings are inconsistent and clearly untrue. Nonetheless, Arthurs pays for her drinks and wishes her well in her silly life endeavors.

Mary Tyler Moore Credits Her Parents For Her Success

The classic Western episode aired in 1960. And it was only one year later that she found her first round of true success on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Then over the rest of her career, she earned six Emmys and an Oscar nod. And Mary Tyler Moore also landed her own namesake show that became one of the most iconic series in television history.

During an interview with Charlie Rose in 1995, the actress explained how she climbed her way to the top of Hollywood. As she shared, she used her relationship with her parents as fuel to succeed. However, that fuel didn’t come from a warm home.

The actress said she felt unloved and neglected as a child. Her mother was an alcoholic and her father was withdrawn. Because they were so caught up in their own problems, they forgot about their daughter.

And that made Mary Tyler Moore crave a life in the limelight as a worldwide celebrity.

“I felt at the time that I wasn’t getting the love and affection and attention that I wanted,” she admitted. “And I can see [now] that that’s probably true.”

Though Moore knew that she wanted to work in performing arts since she was three, she struggled to find her way as a young woman. She constantly struggled with both too much and a lack of confidence, which threw put her into a confusing mind-frame.

“‘I can just knock ‘em dead. I’m the best!’” and ‘Oh, why would anyone ever want to see me? This is no good. They’re all going to find out,’” she recalled thinking during her early auditions.

“And I think you’ll find that a lot of performers say that,” she shared.