‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’: Mary Tyler Moore Told a Lie to Get Role on Iconic Program

by Clayton Edwards

Could you imagine anyone other than Mary Tyler Moore playing Laura on “The Dick Van Dyke Show?” It’s really hard to think of anyone better for that role. However, when she went for the audition, Moore was pretty sure she didn’t have a shot at the role because she was so young.

So, she did what any young, driven, talented artist would do. She told a small, well-placed lie. Moore was only 23 at the time but she told casting directors that she was 25.

Mary Tyler Moore was young but also experienced. Before auditioning for the “Dick Van Dyke Show,” She had appeared on several television shows. So, she knew she could do the job. Luckily for her and fans of the show alike, her fib helped to get her cast on the show.

She wasn’t wrong to think that her age might be an issue according to Showbiz CheatSheet.

When remembering Moore after her death, Dick Van Dyke said, “My first question was, ‘Can this girl do comedy?’ After that, I said, ‘She’s a little young for me.”

It didn’t take him long to see that she was right for the show, though. In the end, he was glad to play opposite her on the show. About that he said, “I got to be on hand and watch her grow into the talent she became. She was just the best.”

Mary Tyler Moore’s time on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” was the springboard she needed. After her role as Laura, she went on to star in her own show. Without that little white lie, we may have missed out on an iconic TV actress.

Moore’s Fib May Have Inspired an Episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show”

Mary Tyler Moore may have bent the truth to get on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” but she proved that she was the perfect choice for the role. There’s a good chance that the truth came to light during the show’s production. The plot of a two-part episode in season three centers on Laura lying about her age and being found out.

In the episode, “Laura’s Little Lie/ Very Old Rice/ Very Old Shoes,” Laura is reluctant to sign a life insurance policy. In the end, she has to admit that she lied about their age when she and Rob got married. The similarities are too close to not be inspired by real-life events.

Of all the lies that probably fly around in Hollywood auditions, it’s a good thing this one stuck. Not only did it allow “The Dick Van Dyke Show” to have the perfect female lead but it also helped to rocket Moore to stardom.