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Mary Tyler Moore was apparently a big inspiration on former First Lady Michelle Obama as a young girl. Mrs. Obama told Variety magazine in a 2016 interview that “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was an important part of her childhood. Obama noted that Moore played one of the few single working women on TV in the 1970s, and that her character, Mary Richards, wasn’t looking to get married and the series didn’t end with her finding a husband. She said Moore’s character, who was a producer in a television newsroom, never complained about being single and was comfortable in the role. Mrs. Obama said she was ten or eleven years old when she saw that, and it made her think that getting an education and building a career was a viable option for a woman, that could lead to happiness and fulfillment.
In real life, not only was Moore a television legend, she was also a pioneering entertainment executive. She launched MTM Enterprises with her then-husband Grant Tinker, which developed, produced and distributed many TV shows that shaped a generation. Among some of her hit shows were “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “The Bob Newhart Show”, “Rhoda”, “Lou Grant”, “The Betty White Show”, “The White Shadow”, “WKRP in Cincinnati”–where urban fans were drawn to actor Tim Reid, “Hill Street Blues”–where so many fans kept their eyes locked on Hoosier native actor Michael Warren, “St. Elsewhere”–where many fans first noticed actor Denzel Washington, and “Remington Steele”–that made Pierce Brosnan a dashing superstar bound to eventually play ‘James Bond.’ Moore died Wednesday at the age of 80 surrounded by her husband, other family members and close friends in a hospital in Connecticut.
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