Dick Van Dyke said that he had a crush on Mary Tyler Moore during ''The Dick Van Dyke Show''

"Who didn't adore Mary?"

Smart, successful, and hilarious, Rob and Laura Petrie made the perfect on-screen couple. But when The Dick Van Dyke Show began, Dick Van Dyke still had his doubts. In his book, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, Van Dyke described his first interactions with Mary Tyler Moore, who he immediately loved as a person, but perhaps not so much as his on-screen wife. He wrote, "What wasn't to love? I adored her from the moment we were introduced. I think both of us had each other at hello. But I still had a couple of problems."

Van Dyke's first issue was physical. He said, "For one, I thought she was too young to play my wife. She was twelve years younger than I was, though as time went by, no one ever noticed or mentioned that fact. Even I forgot about it." The other issue was a bit more important for a show like The Dick Van Dyke Show. He said, "During our initial read-throughs of the first episode, titled 'The Sick Boy and the Sitter,' I was concerned that Mary wasn't much of a comedienne."

Today, to worry that Mary Tyler Moore wasn't a comedienne is so funny, you could call yourself a comedienne. Even Van Dyke acknowledged it in his book as he wrote, "It is hard to imagine." Still, he was able to explain his reasoning: "She was stiff, proper, polite. She didn't seem to have much of a funny bone. I saw a little Katherine Hepburn in her, but not much Lucille Ball."

In retrospect, Van Dyke was able to acknowledge his mistake. He wrote, "Of course, I was wrong... Within a few days of reading and working together — really in no time at all — Mary got it. With Carl, Rosie, and Morey in the room, she had the best teachers. These people knew comedy like nobody else. They had a funny in their bones, down into the marrow." Van Dyke was also sure to dish some of the credit onto Moore herself and added, "Mary was an A-plus student. She absorbed everything — the chemistry, the rhythm — and emerged a comedienne herself." He continued, "The first time I stood across from her in rehearsal and heard her say 'Oh, Rob!' I thought, that's it, we're home. All of a sudden, she was perfect."

So perfect was Moore that by the time filming for the second season of The Dick Van Dyke Show rolled around, he found himself in a new situation. He wrote, "A funny thing happened that second season when Mary and I went back to work. We couldn't stop giggling when we were around each other. Part of it was the joy of being back together with everyone and getting to continue the series, but our giggles continued past the first episode or two." So hefty was the issue that Van Dyke decided to ask a friend of his that was a psychiatrist. The prognosis? Van Dyke wrote, "He stated what was patently obvious. 'Dick, you've got a crush on her.' I put my head in my hands and laughed. Of course, I did. Who didn't adore Mary?"

Van Dyke never pursued his crush, but he explained, "If we had been different people, maybe something would have happened. But neither of us was that type of person. Still, we were stuck on each other." Van Dyke and Moore remained close throughout the show's airing, and even after it had finished its run, and perhaps the show was better for Van Dyke's crush because it meant that the love between Rob and Laura that we saw on the show was, in some ways, real.

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22 Comments

BradBeall 4 months ago
Mary Tyler Moore was every guy's crush, including myself, even though I was just a child, barely 5 years old when the show played it's last episode. To this day, she still makes my heart beat faster!
JHP 5 months ago
so 2nd in line was Richard Deacon?
MadMadMadWorld 6 months ago
His crush was only half the story! She had a crush on him also! Both admitted they had crushes on the other. It was obvious on-screen how deep their chemistry was together! The strongest chemistry together of any married couple I ever saw on television, and I think it was actually stronger than the real-life marriage and tv series "I Love Lucy" with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. That's saying something when any married couple on television could top Lucy and Desi on a specific area! The Dick Van Dyke Show as my favorite tv series after I found it starting in its 4th season in the 1964-65 tv season. Unfortunately, it had only one more year, before it has been in syndication almost always since, with its 158-episode run. Almost all of them are top-notch, with only a handful of below-average episodes! The one thing with their outstanding romantic chemistry together and physical attractiveness that many people compared them to: President John and Jacqueline Kennedy. My favorite dressy pic of them together in 1964 is attached. The strong connection to John and Jackie was the first filming date for the pilot, episode #1, "The Sick Boy and The Sitter" was filmed on Fri. Jan. 20, 1961, the same day Kennedy was inaugurated. It aired on Oct. 3, 1961.
Pacificsun 8 months ago
Nice story. DVD is such a gracious, self-effacing gentleman. Notice how he credited everyone else with MTM's success in that Show.
Deejenks1941 8 months ago
I am very excited about meTv going back several years gives us tv that we can watch with our grandkids.
DZee 8 months ago
I couldn't stand her. That annoying whining all the time made me change the channel. I only liked the episodes that revolved around the office.
MadMadMadWorld DZee 6 months ago
Nobody whines all the time. You picked out the few times she did that, to comic effect, and wildly exaggerated it! And the times she did it, it was for a brief moment in her exasperation at Rob for something HE did or said.
Lisa24 8 months ago
Wonderful TV couple-- classy, charming, adorable.
JHP 8 months ago
she was ok - never tripped my trigger - too self centered
Beatseeker 8 months ago
i had a crush on mary... still do! 65 years of drooling....
Andybandit 8 months ago
I thought DVD and MTM had great chemistry on the show. Oh Rob.
justjeff 8 months ago
*SIGH*..."I saw a little Catherine Hepburn..." It's Katharine Hepburn... you did it again, MeTV!

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MrsPhilHarris justjeff 8 months ago
🤣 ☠️
Pacificsun justjeff 8 months ago
They corrected it. You might want to, yours too.

"I saw a little Katherine Hepburn in her, but not much Lucille Ball."

Sometimes they really do read our comments!!
Pacificsun justjeff 8 months ago
"I saw a little Katherine Hepburn in her, but not much Lucille Ball."

This is free entertainment to which they have no responsibility. However, in terms of basic professionalism, yes.
justjeff Pacificsun 8 months ago
Perhaps so, but isn't it fun to find all of their misquotes, typos, factual inaccuracies, etc. and hold them accountable for them? They're worth every penny we *don"t* pay them...
Yort 8 months ago
This is interesting. I always wondered what Dick Van Dyke thought of Mary Tyler Moore. They had great chemistry.
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