Mary Tyler Moore Once Revealed the Two Characters She Most Identified With

by Matthew Wilson

Actor Mary Tyler Moore was a legend in both sitcoms and entertainment, playing numerous characters across her long and prolific career. But every actor has a favorite part that speaks to them on a deeper level. And Moore was no exception.

The actor revealed two roles that she identified with the most. Moore said she’s similar to her “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” character and “The Dick Van Dyke Show” character. In a 1999 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Moore opened up about how she changed across her career. She also discussed her struggles with alcoholism.

“I cannot deny that Laura Petrie and Mary Richards were very much like me. On the other hand, I am also like Beth Jarrett in ‘Ordinary People,’ or at least I was,” Moore told the outlet. “I have grown since then, letting go of the expectation of perfection, allowing things to happen, and to love and respect and admire what is in its roughest form. I think dealing with my alcoholism had a positive effect on me. It forced me to look at myself and the way I was dealing or not dealing with my problems. The invaluable lesson you learn when you’re dealing with alcoholism is that it’s all right to feel pain.”

Mary Tyler Moore and Her Roles

Mary Tyler Moore played Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1970. The show ran for a total of seven seasons and was highly successful, raking in a number of awards and praise. The show proved to be seminal, focusing on an independent woman not tied to a relationship. Previously, woman characters on sitcoms had been defined by their relationship and not their careers.

Over the course of the series, Moore’s character dated many different suitors. But she closed the series without settling down. In her career, Moore’s Richards rises to the rank of a producer at her employer.

Meanwhile, Moore’s Laura Petrie from “The Dick Van Dyke Show” differed greatly from her later creation. The show mainly focused on a suburban marriage. On the show, Moore’s character is a stay-at-home mother raising their son Ritchie. The Petries often got into a number of sitcom antics on the show. It proved to also be an important piece of entertainment, inspiring later sitcoms and television. Moore played the part on the show for five seasons, from 1961 to 1966.

Moore passed away in 2017 but she left behind decades of work and televisions shows for fans to enjoy.