‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’: Robert Redford Said He Got Cold Feet During Chance to Meet Moore

by Evan Reier

Even for the biggest names in Hollywood, there are icons that are hard to approach. For legend Robert Redford, it was Mary Tyler Moore.

There’s few people with such an iconic demeanor and look than Moore. From the early days of The Dick Van Dyke to her journey through film later in life, she never lost that glow. It’s what set her apart until her unfortunate death on January 25, 2017.

So, even for a name like Redford, that presence was stunning. While the two then worked on the classic 1980 film Ordinary People, his first chance to interact with her didn’t go to plan, per Rolling Stone.

“Once while renting a house in Malibu, California, I saw her bundled up, walking alone on the beach,” Redford said. “I wanted to introduce myself and walk along with her, but my respect for other people’s privacy prevented it. The Mary Tyler Moore Show is the only network show I consistently watch, aside from Sesame Street. She seems at once positive, vivacious, vulnerable, attractive, independent, adventurous and feminine. I would still like to walk with her on the beach.”

That’s a summation that only a creative icon like Redford can come up with. It’s also a testament to Mary Tyler Moore and her show’s legacy. If your show was in Redford’s watching queue, and Sesame Street was the only competition, there’s not much that needs to be said about it’s impact.

Mary Tyler Moore Worked with Redford on Ordinary People

Compared to the positive, upbeat nature of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ordinary People was a stark contrast. In Redford’s directing debut, he took the world of cinema by storm. It is a raw story of a family falling apart.

Set in Chicago, the film features Moore as Beth Jarrett. The death of her son by boating accident, as well as the ensuing suicide attempt from her other son who was involved, is the premise of tension for the film.

Beth Jarrett is understandably dealing with the trauma of the situation, but treats her still-alive son poorly as she fakes being content and in control. It spirals downward and downward before eventual clashes between Moore’s character and her husband and son.

It is a brutal portrayal of how traumatic events can shape a home forever, and Moore’s performance is as revered as any of her other roles.

While the film took home Best Picture, Best Director Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars, Moore did not win after being nominated for Best Actress.