Mary Tyler Moore told a lie that inspired a plot line on the Dick Van Dyke Show

Who knew a fib could lead to something so good?

It's impossible to imagine anyone other than the great Mary Tyler Moore playing Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Nearly 60 actresses read for the role before Carl Reiner cast Moore, remembering her as the "girl with three names." At the time, Moore was 24 years old and on the rise with a dance and commercial career on her resume. This didn't mean that she still didn't need some tricks of the trade to land a solid role. 

At the time of casting, Dick Van Dyke was 11 years Moore's senior, and the casting office was looking for someone closer in age to play the Laura to his Rob. Upon arriving at the audition, Moore informed the casting directors that she was in, fact, two years older than she truly was.

After dazzling at the audition and landing the role, the truth was exposed — the 24-year-old actress had fibbed, but there was no better fit for the role. Moore was cast and the show went on as audiences know it.

Now, if Sally Rogers and Buddy Sorrell have taught us anything, it's that inspiration for a situational comedy can come from anywhere at any time.

This couldn't be more true for the show's own writing; the writers of the sitcom took inspiration from Moore's little stunt at the audition and wrote a two-part episode about a similar issue. If you recall "Laura's Little Lie" and "Very Old Shoes, Very Old Rice", Laura avoids signing a life insurance policy because it requires a doctor's appointment, which would include a verification of her age. We learn that in order to marry Rob, Laura lied about her age by two whole years!

Sometimes even with the best screenwriters in town, you can't beat real life. 

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Mike 23 months ago
I know several celebs that gave a different age to get a job. Audie and my Dad were two and this was another. In an interview she noted being 21 not 24 and in 1970 when she got her own show it was said she was just 30 years old.
MichaelSkaggs 32 months ago
Didn't a recent article say they talked about what happened to them over the weekend and use those as the storylines for the series?
CANARYMETV666 54 months ago
I love Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.
MadMadMadWorld CatMETV666 49 months ago
You have to stand in line behind me! TDVDS has been my all-time favorite tv series since I first saw it in 1964. I saw the final two seasons as they aired every Wednesday, and then later saw all of the first three seasons. There has never been a better-looking tv couple than Rob and Laura Petrie! Lucy and Desi were good looking too. Desi just as good looking as Dick. But Mary is the more beautiful in comparing Lucy to her. Of course Lucy was already 40 in her first tv series year, while Mary was already in her prime at 24, and only got better looking by the time she stopped being Laura (at 29) in the last episode aired in June 1966.
Totally Awesome but still like to watch both of those classic shows they were both in couple in character husband and wife.
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MadMadMadWorld 49 months ago
You and 30 million other guys! She was as great on that show, her first real part on TV after her secretary role (only her legs and sexy voice were shown/heard) on "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" from 1959-60. Then in 1960, she got THE best part for a woman in all of television, as "Laura Petrie." TV has not been the same since! Trivia: the pilot was filmed on Friday, Jan. 20, 1961, the same day President Kennedy was inaugurated. Not aired until Oct. 3. If there was one tv couple who resembled Jack and Jackie in how superb they looked, it was Dick and Mary. I miss the three from those short golden years with life in the U.S. and in tv. Dick is now 94 (b. Dec. 13, 1925 in West Plains, MO).
thedude1500 56 months ago
That was a plot line in Big Love. The youngest wife lied about her age and was underage when she married.
15inchBlackandWhite 56 months ago
Melody Patterson famously fibbed her way onto F Troop when she was FIFTEEN!
I think they card people now. I bet Ken Berry was freaked-out!
* That's why Ken Berry avoided intimacy with Melody saying "Jane, not in front of the men!" to cover for her being under-age. ☺
cperrynaples RedSamRackham 56 months ago
Right, he didn't want to be the white R. Kelly...LOL! Today, someone would be checking ID to make sure an actress was legal! Of course, it didn't matter to Harvey Weinstein....LOL!!!
Mike RedSamRackham 23 months ago
That was about the age Mary was when she conceived a son.
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