When Mary Tyler Moore died Wednesday at the age of 80, many of us remembered her for giving us classic comedy bits on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 70’s.
But for some, like Philadelphia anchor Jessica Dean and Minneapolis anchor Alix Kendall, Mary Tyler Moore was more than just woman who could set up a good joke. Moore’s iconic role as Mary Richards, the associate producer of the fictional WJM evening news in Minneapolis, made her a pioneer in local TV.
“I’m a big believer that if you can’t see something, you can’t be something,” KYW anchor Jessica Dean told philly.com. “If she could do it, I could do it. She gave me this idea that you can be a smart, capable woman and also care about fashion and girlfriends. When I was at that age, I was thinking about what it means to be a young woman in our world.”
For Kendall, who anchors at Fox-owned KMSP and grew up in Minneapolis when the show was running in the 70’s, the show took on a whole different dimension since her mom worked behind the scenes at a local station.
“I was 9 years old, and thinking ‘I want to be Mary Richards when I grow up! I want to live in that world,'” Kendall told TVSpy. “I guess after being in the News Business now for 25 years, many of those in the Twin Cities, I kinda did that.”
Kendall said it’s no secret she’s a fan. When the Fox 9 Buzz crew dressed up as Mary Tyler Moore characters in 2013, Kendall said dressing up as Mary was “a dream come true! But let’s face it…there was only ONE Mary.”
“Mary Tyler Moore was groundbreaking at a time when women had been defined by men through marriage, or by being a mother, etc…but Mary was a single professional woman working in the city I love, Minneapolis!” she said.
“Mary Richards wasn’t perfect, and she wasn’t always assertive, but you were always rooting for her,” said Kendall. “She didn’t always get what she wanted, but, as in life, it’s the person you are, and she was the heart of the show. The rock. The one everyone trusted. I would hope my friends at work, could say that same thing about me, someday.”