Mary Tyler Moore Didn’t Have Supportive Parents, Revealed Person That Pushed Her to Acting Success

by Keeli Parkey

There are people in all of our lives who have inspired us and pushed us toward success. Often, those people are our parents. However, that was not the case for legendary television actress Mary Tyler Moore.

According to a 2005 article by, the star of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was not born to the most loving of parents. (The article was first published in 2005. It was shared again when she passed away on Jan. 25, 2017.)

Per, Mary Tyler Moore was born in Brooklyn, New York, on Dec. 29, 1936. According to the article, her father was very “distant” and her mother was “an alcoholic.” To describe how distant her father actually was the article quoted a statement from her autobiography.

According to that statement, her father “thought children should be born already 18, married and living in a neighboring town.”

That doesn’t sound like the most loving home for a child now does it?

Mary Tyler Moore’s Aunt Stepped Up to Assist, Inspire the Future Star

Fortunately for Mary Tyler Moore, a close relative stepped in to help her. Also, the support from this relative made a major difference in her life.

That relative was Moore’s Aunt Bertie. According to the article, Aunt Bertie provided the future star with “the undivided attention Moore’s parents were incapable of when she was very young.”

While she was giving the 2005 interview to the publication, Moore was actually in California to attend Aunt Bertie’s funeral. Aunt Bertie had died at the age of 92.

Moore also told the publication that it was Aunt Bertie who was the model for her most iconic character. That character, of course, is Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Here’s how the article described the main character of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”: “Mary Richards was independent, eager but not anxious to meet Mr. Right, and satisfied to have a career until he came along.”

So, what did Aunt Bertie do to help and inspire Moore?

“She sent me to dancing school, paid for the lessons, gave me singing lessons, told me I could do it,” the actress told “She encouraged me always to fight on and get what I wanted.”

Sadly, Moore followed in her mother’s footsteps in an unfortunate way. The actress also became an alcoholic. Eventually, she sought out and found treatment for her disease, according to the article.

Fortunately, Mary Tyler Moore decided to really go to battle against her alcoholism. So, she entered the Betty Ford Center for treatment. One of the motivating factors behind Moore’s decision to battle alcoholism was her husband Robert Levine. She told the publication that he provided her with the motivation to stop drinking.