Friday, April 03, 2009
Leonard Lopate the legendary radio show host on WNYC, interviewed Mary Tyler Moore at the 92nd St Y. Mary has a new book out, Growing Up Again, which focuses on her life with diabetes. She was candid about not being a model for those with diabetes. She drank and smoke for many years after her diagnosis, which occurred after a miscarriage. The smoking actually caused her eyes to "bleed" and cloud over. She eventually had an operation which enabled her to see, but she no longer has peripheral vision. Mary looks great. In fact she looks better than she has in awhile. She looks more like the TV Mary we grew up with.
Leonard brought up Mary's fondness for Fox News, which of course created a nice banter between the two. Both saw Bill O'Reilly in a different light. She's a supporter of stem cell research. She believes there will be major breakthroughs in curing diabetes in her lifetime.
A highlight of Mary's career occurred in the second season (according to her, Wikipedia has it listed as the first season, airing on Oct 10, 1961) of the Dick Van Dyke Show. She was cast as the "straight man" for Rob Petrie. The writers took note of her sense of humor and decided to write a little bit of comedy for her. Laura dyes her hair blond to make her more attractive to Rob. She explained that when Rob came home she hid herself and her hair behind a life raft (who knew why that was in their house)to explain why she dyed her hair. To applause, she recreated her famous "Oh Rob" lament.
The Dick Van Dyke show, filmed 30 episodes per season. It seems that all my current favorite shows, including Friday Night Lights which was picked up for two more seasons, have less than half that per season, coming in at 13 episodes.
Bill Persky was in the audience. When I heard that name, the opening credits of That Girl came to mind. He's a writer/director who worked on That Girl, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Kate & Allie, etc.
They didn't touch on much involving her own show. They mentioned the amazing cast and that she was diagnosed as the show was in development. She said she based her character in Ordinary People on her father, a very stoic man, who never said I love you.
Mary did mention there was some movement on a possible return to the theater for her.