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Carl Reiner Remembers Mary Tyler Moore: ‘She Was Grace Personified’

Variety logo Variety 1/25/2017 Cynthia Littleton
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The Dick Van Dyke Show” creator Carl Reiner remembered Mary Tyler Moore as a graceful and talented performer with a strong sense of the responsibility she bore as a role model for American women.

“She was grace personified. She could never take a wrong step,” Reiner told Variety. “The fact that she started out as a dancer was indicative of everything she did after that. Her grace was unmistakable. I saw it the first time she walked into my office.”

“The Dick Van Dyke Show” was consciously designed to break the mold of the bickering spouses that were so common for sitcoms in TV’s early years. “This was Rob and Laura against the world,” he said. Moore and Van Dyke had immediate chemistry. “Years later they both admitted that if they hadn’t been married to other people at the time (of the 1961-66 series) they would have been a couple,” Reiner said.

Moore, according to Reiner, was aware of her status as a role model to women, and she did not struggle with the burden of fame.

“She carried it well. The show she did informed women, and a lot of the equality that women achieved has a lot to do with that show laying the groundwork,” he said.

Reiner and Moore last saw each other at a recent industry event. Her eyesight was nearly gone from her lifelong battle with diabetes. “She didn’t recognize me until she heard my voice, and then we hugged and talked awhile,” he said. While she was obviously suffering, “she still looked beautiful — she was still Mary Tyler Moore.”

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