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 TV Character Bios

RICHARDS, Mary
(The Mary Tyler Moore Show)
 ( 555-7862 [or 2321]
Apartment D
119 North Weatherly Avenue
Minneapolis, MN.

Mary is a news producer for WJM-TV Channel 12. She is 30, single, hardworking and extremely optimistic. Born in Roseburg, MN, Mary lives in the Victorian home  of her friend, Phyllis Lindstrom who charges Mary  $130 a month rent.

Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards
The lovely Mary Richards

Rhoda Morgenstern, a Jewish window dresser and transplanted New Yorker from the Bronx, lives above Mary in a converted attic apartment. When Rhoda and Mary first met, Rhoda was angry that Mary got the bigger downstairs apartment and shouted "Give me my apartment!" But despite their awkward first steps, both Mary and Rhoda developed a close relationship that would carry them through failed marriages, estrangement and a deceased spouse.

Rhoda Morgenstern Phyliss Lindstrom
Rhoda Morgenstern Phyllis Lindstrom

Mary came to Minneapolis to start a new life after breaking up with her long time boyfriend, Bill who lived in New York. To make a living, Mary applied for a job as a secretary, but ended up getting the position of associate producer for the WJM-TV's "Six O'Clock News" program. But first she had to interview with a rather grumpy editor called Lou Grant. In fact, he began to ask Mary extremely personal questions that were outside the realm of a "legal" interview like "her age" and "religion" (Presbyterian). But Mary, being forthright pointed out his mistake. Mr. Grant told her she had spunk and followed that up with "I hate spunk!" However, Mr. Grant saw something special in Mary ("her caboose") and gave her the job which paid $10.00 less that the secretary position. On her way home, an elated Mary tossed her tam into the air as she walked along Seventh Street in downtown Minneapolis.

Mary's coworkers at WJM-TV included:

  • Murray Slaughter, the station's head news writer (who developed a crush on Mary - as did most of the males in the news room)
  •  Tex Baxter, a pompous, white-haired newscaster who anchored the Six O'Clock News
  • Gordon "Gordy" Howard, the station's black sports announcer
  • Sue Anne Nivens, the man-hungry host of "The Happy Homemaker" (when not cooking, she roamed the halls of the station looking for sexual conquests)
  • And, of course, Lou Grant, a fan of John Wayne, who was not averse to taking a swig of booze on the job (he keeps a bottle in his desk). After work, Mary, Lou and the other newsroom staff frequented a local bar called 'The Happy Hour'.
Ed Asner as Lou Grant Gavin Macleod as Murray Slaughter Ted Knight as Ted Baxter

Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens

Lou Murray Ted Sue Ann

Mary's daily routine at work was filled with exciting news stories, gossip about her coworkers, and a guaranteed on-air misreading of the news headlines by the news anchor Ted Baxter, but perhaps, Mary's most memorable and embarrassing moment at WJM-TV occurred when the actor for the station's children's program (Chuckles the Clown) was killed by a hungry rouge parade elephant. Chuckles was dressed in a giant Peter the Peanut costume while performing his duty as Grand Marshal.

When the news of Chuckle's death reached the newsroom, all the staff began to joke about how Chuckles died. Mary, however, thought the jokes were inappropriate and chastised her coworkers for their lack of decorum. Unfortunately, when the day of funeral arrived, Mary began to laugh uncontrollably during Chuckle's funeral ceremony when the silliness of the whole situation finally hit home. At his funeral, the minister said:

"Chuckles the Clown brought pleasure to millions. The characters he created will be remembered by children and adults alike...Peter Peanut, Mr. Fee Fi Fo, Billy Banana and, my particular favorite, Aunt Yoo Hoo. And not just for the laughter that he provided. There was always some deeper meaning to whatever Chuckles did. And what did Chuckles ask in return? Not much. In his own words-'a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pant's."

One of Mary's proudest days was winning a Teddy Award in 1973. Sadly, the hours leading up to the grand event included a sprained ankle, a bumpy hair dew, a flat tire, and the bottom of her grocery bag ripping open. That evening, Mary accepted her award with these words:

"Aaaahchoo!!. Thank you. I usually look SO much better than this. Please believe me, I have a much cuter dress at the cleaners, and my hair...it's just that I've had this cold, but I shouldn't be talking about something as silly as this. And when you gave me this award...I'm just [coughs} ...sorry...I'm just sorry. Thank you very much."

Continued on next page >


 

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