Mary Tyler Moore Explained Why She Couldn’t Believe Robert Redford Was Equally ‘Starstruck’ to Meet Her

by Keeli Parkey

It may sound unbelievable, but even celebrities get starstruck from time to time. According to an interview Mary Tyler Moore gave before her death, she was very surprised to know that one iconic movie star was “starstruck” to meet her.

That movie star was Robert Redford. And, Moore talked about meeting him during a 2005 interview with (The article was shared online again on Jan. 25, 2017. That was the day the legendary comedic actress passed away.)

Mary Tyler Moore is most famous for her television roles. She rose to fame starring as Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” And her star continued to rise when she portrayed Mary Richards in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The final episode of that beloved sitcom aired in 1977.

With her television career in the past, Mary Tyler Moore decided to take a role in the 1980 film “Ordinary People.” Working on this film led her to meet legendary Hollywood star Robert Redford. Redford was the director of “Ordinary People.”

Mary Tyler Moore Talked About Meeting, Working with Robert Redford in Her Autobiography

On her journey to joining the cast of “Ordinary People,” Mary Tyler Moore talked with Robert Redford about the film. Unsurprisingly, she was starstruck getting to work with such a legendary movie star.

Interestingly, he was just as starstruck getting to work with a legendary television star. However, Mary Tyler Moore wasn’t ready to accept that Redford would be in awe meeting her.

“No. I don’t think so. He is and was, of superstar quality. And the fact that he was the director of the piece and all of that,” she told “I used to see him on the beach every once in a while and I would never dare say ‘hi.'”

According to what Moore said during the 2005 interview, Redford noticed her on the beach, but he kept his distance.

“But he did say he felt that way, too – ‘I didn’t want to intrude on her privacy”— but it was from seeing me on that beach that he wondered what the dark side of Mary Tyler Moore was,” the actress said.

Moore, Redford Worked Together to Develop Her ‘Ordinary People’ Character

It was while working together on the film “Ordinary People” that Moore and Redford really worked to find that dark side. And, they used that to inform Moore’s portrayal of her character in the film. According to the article, she played Beth Jarrett.

To put it mildly, Jarrett is a character who is very difficult to like. She’s cold and aloof and isn’t the ideal mother. Not at all. Obviously, this is a character who is very, very different from the characters Moore became famous for playing. Both Laura Petrie and Mary Richards were sweet and kind and lovable and someone you would want to know. Beth Jarret was none of those things.

The hours of work Mary Tyler Moore and Robert Redford shared on “Ordinary People” paid off for the actress. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in the film. However, it was Sissy Spacek who took home the Oscar in the category that year thanks to her work in “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”