Classic TV fans lost a true legend last week with the passing of Mary Tyler Moore at the age of 80.
Mary is best remembered for her two iconic sitcom roles: Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66) and Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77). She also guested on such early classics as 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Thriller and Wanted: Dead or Alive. Her legs and voice appeared on the 1950s David Janssen crime series Richard Diamond, Private Detective.
Mary Tyler Moore and her then-husband Grant Tinker (who passed away last November) teamed up to create the production company MTM Enterprises in 1969. In MTM’s nearly 30 years of existence, the company was an entertainment juggernaut, creating such classic series as The Bob Newhart Show, Hill Street Blues, Lou Grant, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Newhart, Phyllis, Rhoda, St. Elsewhere, The White Shadow and WKRP in Cincinnati.
We’ve lost many more classic TV friends recently, including:
- Actor William Christopher, who played Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H
- Actor Mike Connors (Mannix)
- Veteran character actor Bernard Fox, who guested on many classic shows of the 1960s and 70s. His best known roles were on Bewitched (Dr. Bombay) and Hogan’s Heroes (Colonel Crittendon)
- Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, who guested on such classic shows as Batman, Burke’s Law, Gilligan’s Island and Mister Ed
- Actress Barbara Hale, Della Street on Perry Mason
- Legendary film star Debbie Reynolds, who starred in several short-lived TV series (1969-70’s The Debbie Reynolds Show and 1981’s Aloha Paradise). She also guested on Alice and The Love Boat
- Actor Alan Thicke, who played Jason Seaver on the 1985-92 sitcom Growing Pains. He also produced the talk show spoof Fernwood Tonight, hosted several game and talk shows and wrote the theme songs to Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life
- Actress Francine York, who guested on countless classic 60s/70s series including Death Valley Days, Gomer Pyle USMC, Love American Style, My Favorite Martian, Perry Mason, The Streets of San Francisco and The Untouchables