‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’: Moore Married First Husband at Very Young Age

by Clayton Edwards

Mary Tyler Moore did everything early. She kickstarted her acting career at a young age. This led her to star in “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and later her own series. Before she was a charismatic presence on the small screen, Moore married at the age of 18.

Mary Tyler Moore married just after graduating high school. This was just five years before landing her role on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” by lying about her age. According to an article by Heavy, Moore wanted to get away from her parents. She felt smothered by their controlling parenting style and needed independence.

She literally married the boy next door. His name was Richard Meeker and he lived in an apartment in her neighborhood. On the other hand, “boy next door” might be stretching things. “Man next door,” is more accurate. He was ten years older than Mary Tyler Moore. However, he had a steady job, a home, and was very fond of Moore. She said that she fell as deeply in love with Meeker as someone can at such a young age. When he proposed, she accepted on one condition: they had to move at least four blocks away. He accepted her condition and the two were married in 1955.

The next year, the couple had their only child. Richard Meeker Jr. Before long, Moore was taking on small television roles and would later go on to co-star in “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and get her own series as well.

Mary Tyler Moore’s Marriage Was Short

The couple was together for just six years before they divorced. However, Moore did not see that as a failure. In fact, she saw their marriage as a success, no matter how short it was. In an interview, she said, “I think even if a marriage worked for four years, five years…if you’re happy during that time, that’s not a time of failure. That’s a time of growth, of satisfaction, and having given and taken from one another, and that’s good.”

She makes a solid point. One of the main ingredients of a successful marriage is happiness. If they were happy for the majority of their time together, their union was successful on that front. Nothing lasts forever.

Later that year, Mary Tyler Moore landed the role in “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” So, she may have been at a personal low at the time but her career was just starting to blossom. Within a few short years, the young actress would become a household name.

Mary Tyler Moore married two more times. In 1962, just a year after her divorce, Moore married Grant Tinker, a CBS executive. They were together for nineteen years and divorced in 1981. Two years later, she married Dr. Robert Levine. They stayed married until Moore’s death in 2017.