Actress Mary Tyler Moore died on January 25, 2017 at the age of 80. Although she played many characters during her 60+ years in show business, it was her role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show that might have left the biggest mark on pop culture.
On The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Moore played Mary Richards, a 30 year old, single news producer. The show focused on Mary’s work environment and friendships. The premise may seem pretty simple now, but in 1970, when the show premiered, it hadn’t been done. This was the first time America saw a leading female character on televsion who was single and whose main focus was her career, not finding a husband. The show paved the way for other television shows with dynamic, strong female leads. Without The Mary Tyler Moore Show there wouldn’t be a Liz Lemon, Leslie Knope, or Mindy Lahiri.
The show didn’t discourage or condemn marriage, after all, Moore herself was married at the time and had a child. Instead, it sent a message to women that marriage is a choice, not a requirement for a happy life. Mary Richards had an interesting, fulfilling life without being someone’s wife or mother. She was enough. And by showing us that image, the show let any girl or woman who watched know that we are enough too. And for that I say thank you.