Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Story by Herbie J. Pilato is an in-depth biography of the iconic actress who first found fame on the 1960s TV sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show and in her own groundbreaking 1970s series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show which will celebrate its 50th anniversary September 2020.
“It was a remarkable series that starred a remarkable person,” says author Pilato, who is also host of the classic TV talk show, Then Again with Herbie J Pilato. “It debuted at the onset of the Women’s Liberation movement, and went on to change the face of television comedy forever.”
Pilato’s book chronicles Moore’s personal and professional challenges and triumphs before, during and after her two historic sitcoms, and the countless other productions, feature films, stage plays, live events, and personal appearances she made through the decades.
“When you’re in the public eye of any arena,” Pilato says, “…be it entertainment, politics, whatever, there is a tremendous responsibility to do and say the right thing. And Mary rose to the occasion, even in her darkest hours.”
Pilato says, Moore, who died January 25th, 2017, “…was as honest as she could be in public and in private. She did the best she could in communicating her truest thoughts. She had integrity, and she had flaws — several of them. But she combined those opposing aspects of herself and became a consummate performer, while advocating for various humanitarian and social causes in the process. And she was the first to admit her imperfections, which only added to her appeal and charm.”
Even when she was sometimes not liked by her peers or her friends.
“No doubt she was a complicated person,” says Pilato. “And she certainly was no Mary Richards,” the sweet-as-American-pie character Moore played on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. “Even she admitted that. But she was true to herself — and loyal to her devoted fans. No matter how bad a day she had, and she had many bad days.” But Moore was “always a trouper,” as when, for example, anyone would approach for an autograph. “She was charmed by the millions of people who appreciated her many talents – and her humanity.”
A gifted actress, dancer, singer, and unwavering philanthropist, Mary was an especially dedicated advocate for animals, and those stricken with diabetes (from which she suffered). For years, she was spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, while carefully navigating her career, and establishing herself as one of the most successful and driven individuals in the entertainment industry. ◊