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Mary Tyler Moore: 2012 SAG Life Achievement Award

Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore has been named the recipient of the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, given annually to an actor who fosters the "finest ideals of the acting profession." The star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Best Actress Academy Award nominee for Ordinary People will be presented the SAG Life Achievement Award at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which premieres live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Previous SAG Life Achievement Award winners include Stan Laurel, Pearl Bailey, Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Martha Raye, Danny Kaye, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Ricardo Montalban, James Garner, Elizabeth Taylor, Angela Lansbury, Eddie Cantor, Julie Andrews, Shirley Temple, and last year’s recipient Ernest Borgnine. Additionally, two Mary Tyler Moore Show alumni have already taken home the award: Edward Asner in 2001 and Betty White in 2009.

The Mary Tyler Moore mini-biography below — and continued in the next two posts — is from the SAG Awards’ press release:

Holder of seven Emmys®, a Tony® and an Academy Award® nomination, among numerous industry and philanthropic accolades, Mary Tyler Moore first rose to prominence when she was cast at 23 as Dick Van Dyke’s wife in his eponymous sitcom, based loosely on the experiences of comedy writer Carl Reiner. Smart, feisty and down-to-earth in capri pants and fashionable tops, Moore’s Laura Petrie was a new kind of television wife and mother. The audiences loved her and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded her two Emmys and a nomination during the show’s five-year run.

Following The Dick Van Dyke Show’s successful run, Moore combined her acting, singing and dancing talents in 1967 as Julie Andrews’ co-star in the 1920’s film musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. She was Elvis Presley’s final leading lady in 1969’s Change of Habit and the same year made her television movie debut in the drama Run a Crooked Mile.

When CBS beckoned with the offer to develop her own television series, Moore formed a production company, MTM, with her then husband Grant Tinker. Their groundbreaking comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered on September 19, 1970.

While other comedies had been set in the workplace, Moore’s chronicled the career, friendships and dating life of a single, thirtyish, spunky, independent, career woman, in the unseen world of local TV news. With a brilliant cast, the character-driven series redefined the meaning of ensemble comedy and of family. In its seven-year run garnered 29 Emmys, including four for its star. Nearly 25 years later Moore was present as TV Land dedicated a statue in downtown Minneapolis depicting the iconic moment in the show’s opening credit’s when a hopeful Mary Richards tosses her hat in the air.

Moore and Tinker’s MTM Enterprises continued to produce an impressive list of landmark comedies and dramas including The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues The White Shadow (starring current SAG president Ken Howard) and St. Elsewhere. Characters from The Mary Tyler Moore Show became the focus for several successful spin-offs in the 1970s: Rhoda, starring Valerie Harper; Phyllis, starring Cloris Leachman; and Lou Grant, starring Ed Asner (SAG’s 38th Life Achievement recipient), which significantly took Asner’s gruff but soft-hearted journalist from TV newsroom comedy into a hard-hitting newspaper-set drama.

Mary Tyler Moore photo: SAG Awards.

Continue Reading: Mary Tyler Moore Biography Pt.2: FIRST YOU CRY, ORDINARY PEOPLE, THE GIN GAME

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