Mary Tyler Moore: Laura Petrie is ''everything that I am.''

"I love her," said Moore.

Lots of bands have that one breakout hit that goes on to define them against their will. It's not their favorite song, but it's the one the public knows, and it gets reluctantly dragged into every setlist forever. But they hate playing it! They begrudgingly do what they know is recognized, even though it's not their favorite artistic statement. Wouldn't that be draining?

Acting can be like that, too. So many actors fall into the trap of having a recognizable character. They spend the rest of their careers trying to prove "I'm not just Robin," or "I can be something other than Gilligan!" When the public remembers you by some other name, it can get old, fast.

But for Mary Tyler Moore, playing Laura Petrie was never a chore. She never tired of playing the wife on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Much like her costars, Moore frequently spoke about how delightful it was to act on the show, and how creatively freeing the process was. 

 "I think I'd be tired to tears if I were her," Moore told The Atlanta Journal in 1964. "But I don't get tired of playing her because I don't have to live with her. I don't have to live in her house and spend my days vacuuming the rug and wondering what to do next."

Parts of Laura Petrie followed Moore home, though. For instance, they shared a face! Did she ever get tired of being confused with the onscreen wife to Dick Van Dyke's Rob?

"No, I love her and I love the way the show is written.

"Well, you see, I say I love her but she's me because I play her the way I play myself at home. If I'm having a conversation with Rob Petrie, I would deliver the lines to Rob the same way as I would deliver them to [then-husband] Grant [Tinker]. You know, it's me. It's my timing, my gestures, it's everything that I am."

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8 Comments

DZee 6 months ago
Couldn't stand her. Always whining about something.
MadMadMadWorld DZee 6 months ago
NO, she wasn't ALWAYS whining! You exaggerate tremendously!
Adamsfather45 7 months ago
Mary Tyler Moore was a glamorously beautiful actress. Especially as Laura Petree. I loved her and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Loved the episodes where she got a chance to dance and sing.
That role was her best ever! She did not make her later "Mary Richards" character on her own show anywhere as marvelous, or as sensational as she was as "Laura Petrie." She even said at the end of TDVDS run after it was announced by early-1966 that it would end in June, "I just want to play Laura." I never saw a more funny, gorgeous, hilarious, but real-life female tv character as her portrayal as "Laura." And she was competing with the best character actresses in 1960s comedy sitcoms then: Barbara Eden, Barbara Feldon, Dawn Wells, Elizabeth Montgomery, etc., but I still rank Mary as #1, for her combination of comedy, dancing, beauty, and overall impact to the series! The whole series changed course because of her breakout talent for comedy that the producers (and her) were not aware of, until the first episodes were filmed, and realized she was comedy gold! She quickly "got it," as the toughest thing to do in showbiz is to be funny and a top comedian for the audience, which she turned out to be. The series changed from Rob mostly seen in the office, to a more equal mix of him there, and at home, trading quips and their outstanding, romantic chemistry together. People on the street seemed to believe they were married in real life: many times one was seen in public and was asked, "Where is Mary/Dick?" I never saw a more exciting married couple on television than Dick and Mary, playing Rob and Laura!
This prior article on Oct. 17, proves how much she "got it" as a top flight comedienne in only the first episodes filmed! https://metv.com/stories/dick-van-dyke-said-that-he-had-a-crush-on-mary-tyler-moore-during-the-dick-van-dyke-show
Runeshaper 7 months ago
It’s neat that she brought a piece of herself into the character 👍
LoveMETV22 7 months ago
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Runeshaper LoveMETV22 7 months ago
😂😂😂
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