Mary was born in New York in 1936 and moved with her family to Los Angeles when she was 8 years old. Her career started with starring in Hotpoint Appliances commercials in the 1950s. They fired her when she got pregnant and couldn’t conceal the pregnancy. This was shortly after marrying her first husband at 18. After this, she modelled for the covers of record albums.
Her first regular television role was in ‘Richard Diamond, Private Detective’ in the late 50s. She had parts in a number of television shows and movies before landing her role on The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1961 at the age of 24. Her character (housewife Laura Petrie) often wore styles that emulated Jackie Kennedy such as capri pants. She received two Emmy nominations for this role and won a Golden Globe.
The show ended in 1966 after which she appeared in a broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany's as Holly Golightly.
She then starred in the 1920s-set ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ in 1967 with Julie Andrews and a number of other films.
Mary and her second husband founded a production company in 1969 which produced her own show ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ in 1970.
It bridged aspects of the women’s movement with mainstream culture by portraying an independent career woman (she was a news producer), helping to define a new vision of American womanhood and shaping the fashion of the working woman. The original Carrie Bradshaw or Ally McBeal!
Mary’s wardrobe was created by Leslie Hall (who also did the costumes for Bewitched). Hall secured an exclusive contract with the Evan Picone brand to provide Mary’s clothing, which was often pant suits, mix and match separates, turtlenecks and shirt dresses.
The peacoat and beret she wears in the opening credits is a signature look.
She also used Norman Todd clothing. Hall dressed her in clothes that real women could buy. Throughout its run, the show reflected the changing fashions of the day and as her character matures, so does her wardrobe.
Her wardrobe has been an inspiration for designers Tory Burch, Isaac Mizrahi, Liz Claiborne, Zac Posen and Michael Kors. It ran for 7 seasons, winning 29 Emmy Awards. Mary also won a Golden Globe for this role. Her company produced a number of other series including spin-offs from this show.
Outside of her roles, Mary’s personal style has been idolized for decades.
After it ended in 1977, she went on to star in a sequence of short lived series in the 80s and guest starred in That 70s Show in 2006 as an icon of that decade.
She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the 1980 film Ordinary People. This was a film about a grieving mother after the accidental death of her son- Mary had lost her own son to an accidental gunshot wound.
She received a number of Emmy nominations for film roles in the 70s, 80s and 90s, winning for Stolen Babies in 1993.
She also starred in and produced a number of plays in the 80s.
She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, received a Lifetime Achievement Award in comedy and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A statue is dedicated to her in Minneapolis. The Screen Actor’s Guild also gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
She published a memoir in 1995 and another in 2009.
She died at the age of 80 in 2017.
This is a 1970s women's pant suit from our rentals collection that also comes with a skirt option. It reminds us of the yellow suit that Mary wears on her show!