10 things you might not know about Mary Tyler Moore, by the numbers
Did you know she was a dancing elf, an album cover model, and a pair of onscreen legs?
Image: Everett Collection
The actress was a television legend, both as a sitcom star on her own Mary Tyler Moore Show and a producer of other classics like Rhoda and The Bob Newhart Show. Long before that, she was an elf and record cover model. For six decades, in many mediums, Moore has been making us laugh and smile.
To pay tribute to the icon, here are a handful of fascinating facts about the entertainer, by the numbers.
A 17-year-old Mary Tyler Moore got her start in showbiz as Happy Hotpoint, the spokes-elf for Hotpoint appliances. She danced in 39 commercials for the company.
That is the approximate amount of money Mary earned for those 39 Hotpoint commercials. She had to stop portraying the elf due to her pregnancy.
3. A baker's dozen or so
That's a rough estimation of the number of album covers upon which Mary Tyler Moore appeared as a model. In the 1950s, she could be spotted on a selection of budget collections for the hi-fi, with titles like Cha Cha Cha, Latin Favorites, Organ Favorites and Favorites from Italy.
(Most of) Mary appeared in seven episodes of Blake Edward's sleuth show Richard Diamond, Private Detective, which ran from 1957 to 1960. She played Diamond's secretary, Sam. We hear her voice and often see her legs, but her face is never shown.
Mary made her film debut in 1961 in the rocket drama X-15. The Charles Bronson movie also marked the directorial debut of Richard Donner, and Jimmy Stewart narrated the flick that touted it was "Actually filmed in space!"
6. 3 and 158
As in three names. Moore auditioned for the role of the older daughter on Make Room for Daddy, though Danny Thomas thought her nose was too small to be believable as his bloodline. Still, Thomas remembered her. When The Dick Van Dyke Show was casting, Mary was selected to play the wife based on Thomas' recommendation. He remembered her as "the girl with three names." She would portray Laura Petrie in 158 episodes of the sitcom.
Her groundbreaking sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show raked in 29 Emmys across its seven seasons. That was a record that remained for nearly three decades until Frasier logged its 30th trophy in 2002. Today, a statue of Mary Richards tossing her cap into the air stands on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, at the site of her series' iconic opening credits sequence.
8. 3 and 11
After The Mary Tyler Moore show, in 1978 the star and creator tried her hand at a variety show, simply titled Mary. The show lasted a mere three episodes, as the format was on its way out, but she had assembled quite the cast. David Letterman, Michael Keaton and Swoosie Kurtz were regulars on the show. Keaton followed her to its follow-up later that year, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour. That lasted 11 episodes.
In 1984, Mary Tyler Moore's production company MTM Enterprises launched the MTM Records label. The imprint largely released country music in the mid-Eighties, though there were three rock acts, including one from Minneapolis, The Metros.
Mimsie the Cat, the kitty that appeared in MTM Enterprises' clever parody of the MGM logo, lived to be 20 years old, in the home of an MTM staffer.