Mary Tyler Moore: "There was a heavy input of me in Laura [Petrie].''

Moore shared several similarities with the Petrie matriarch.

All good writers draw on real life for their works of fiction. While plenty of sitcoms play around with over-the-top scenarios and eccentric energies, the basis for the stories and characters tend to work best when they are grounded in, to an extent, reality.

A great example of this is something like The Dick Van Dyke Show, a story about a television writer that was created by a television writer. Carl Reiner wrote from what he knew and injected his own experiences of writing on programs like Your Show of Shows into the premise of The Dick Van Dyke Show. In fact, Reiner was actually originally staged to play the lead character of the series, though higher-ups of the network decided against it before casting Dick Van Dyke.

That all being said, it can make sense why a viewer might look at a character like Laura Petrie and assume she's borne completely of Carl Reiner's imagination. As far as characters go, she's practically perfect in every way, an ideal wife, mother, and comedy partner. However, fans of Mary Tyler Moore would not be surprised to learn that in an interview with the San Bernardino County Sun, she revealed that her actual personality had an influence on the way characters like Laura Petrie of The Dick Van Dyke Show and Mary Richards of The Mary Tyler Moore Show were written.

Moore stated, "There was a heavy input of me in Laura and Mary." She explained, "I think it's true in television that the characters are a reflection, to a good extent, of the actor."

This makes a great deal of sense, seeing as Laura Petrie and Mary Tyler Moore both seem to share the same poise and sense of humor. However, one thing that separated Mary Tyler Moore from women like Laura Petrie was that as Moore got older and became more comfortable and confident in her skin, she looked less to others for their approval and more inward.

She said, "I am in my 40s. How long can I be convincing as the optimistic naive vulnerable girl next door? I'm not a girl. I'm a woman. Being liked doesn't mean anything to me. I want to be interesting, as a performer, and as a human being."


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2 Comments

EmiliaPastierHeffren 15 days ago
Still watching Mary Tyler Moore in both her shows - many times. And I am 88 years old so that's a lot of times.
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