Moore showcased her dramatic talent in her Emmy-nominated depiction of TV correspondent Betty Rollins’ battle with breast cancer in the 1978 CBS telefilm First You Cry. [Photo: Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke in the television movie The Gin Game.]
In 1980 Moore was nominated for an Oscar® for her riveting portrayal of Beth Jarrett, a bitter mother coping with the death of one son and the attempted suicide of another in the Robert Redford-directed drama Ordinary People. The same year she continued to explore painful subject matter onstage in the hit Broadway play Whose Life Is It, Anyway? which earned her a Tony for playing a quadriplegic sculptor fighting to determine her own destiny, a role originated by Tom Conti and rewritten for its female star in her Broadway debut.
Other feature films include: Six Weeks, opposite Dudley Moore; David O. Russell’s Flirting with Disaster; and Peter Calahan’s dark comedy Against the Current, opposite Joseph Fiennes and Justin Kirk, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Moore’s success in telefilms has continued across decades: In 1984, she delivered an Emmy-nominated performance in the ABC television movie Heartsounds opposite James Garner (SAG’s 41st Life Achievement recipient); received a Cable Ace nomination for HBO’s Finnegan Begin Again opposite Robert Preston and Sam Waterston; delivered a stunning portrayal of disturbed first lady Mary Todd Lincoln in the 1988 NBC miniseries Gore Vidal’s Lincoln; and won her seventh Emmy in 1993 for her performance as a spinster trafficking in illegal adoption in Lifetime’s Stolen Babies.
Other telefilm credits include TNT’s Miss Lettie and Me and the CBS television films Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes; Snow Wonder; and Blessings, based on the Anna Quindlen novel. She and Dick Van Dyke showcased their old spark in a PBS version of D. L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning nursing home-set stage play The Gin Game, then reunited with a large number of their former cast mates in TV Land’s nostalgic The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited.
Moore’s television guest roles include: a recurring run as Tea Leoni’s mother The Naked Truth, an appearance as Ellen DeGeneres’ Aunt Mary in a Christmas episode of Ellen, a recurring stint as a high-strung TV host on That ’70s Show and a multi-episode arc in NBC’s Lipstick Jungle. This year, on the season premiere of Hot in Cleveland, Moore reunited onscreen with Betty White for the first time since The Mary Tyler Moore Show, sharing a jail cell with White’s character, Elka, who was arrested in the season one cliffhanger.
Moore returned to the stage in 1987 to star opposite Lynn Redgrave in A. R. Gurney Jr.’s Sweet Sue and has performed numerous benefit readings of Gurney’s two-person Love Letters, starring opposite James Earl Jones to benefit, the Poughkeepsie Day School, Patrick Stewart to benefit the Ethical Culture School and Gene Wilder for the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center Association, as well as opposite Gurney himself.