With each glance and every little movement, the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show captivated television audiences every Saturday night for seven seasons. No one had ever seen a character like Mary Richards on television before when the show hit the airwaves in 1970. She was a modern, independent, career-driven, 30-something single woman trying to make it on her own. When we first met Mary, she had just moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and landed a job at WJM-TV, the lowest-rated news station in town.
With help from a legendary cast of characters, television history was made. Ed Asner played Lou Grant, the hard-nosed news director with a soft spot for Mary. Gavin MacLeod brought sweet but sarcastic newswriter Murray Slaughter to life on the small screen. Actress Betty White sauced up the screen as sassy and sex-crazed Sue Ann Nivens. Ted Knight played hilarious, dim-witted, egomaniac anchorman Ted Baxter, who was in love with sweet, naïve Georgette, portrayed by Georgia Engel.
At home, Mary's man-crazy best friend, Rhoda Morgenstern, played by Valerie Harper, was always dropping in. Together, they were forced to deal with busybody landlord, Phyllis Lindstrom, played by Cloris Leachman.
After seven award-winning seasons, the lights went out at WJM-TV. Now, the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show is reuniting on Oprah's stage—Mary, Lou, Murray, Sue Ann, Rhoda, Phyllis and Georgette are all here!
Oprah says The Mary Tyler Moore Show became her lifeline. "I was 16 years old when I first saw this groundbreaking show," she says. "I watched this show every Saturday night like my life depended on it."
Growing up, Oprah says she wanted to have Mary Richards's clothes, hairstyle and job. She says she was crushed when she learned there wasn't really a WJM-TV in Minneapolis.
See how Oprah's staff brought WJM-TV to life.
Now, her childhood dreams have come true! "It feels so completely surreal to me," Oprah says. "I wanted to walk through those doors and sit at Mary's desk. And, today, I get to do it."
Mary Richards and her friends inspired Oprah to live the life she always imagined. "The show was a light in my life, and Mary was a trailblazer for my generation. She's the reason I wanted my own production company," Oprah says. "It's the reason there is a Harpo because that was the inspiration."