“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” addressed sex, birth control, equal pay, workplace sexism and homosexuality, making it “a laboratory for the social issues of the day,” the NYT notes in her obit.
Sure, Mary Richards was a fictitious character: an associate news producer for a local television station in Minneapolis, Minnesota but her role gave a generation of girls, myself included, a new perspective for jobs that weren’t limited to traditional female roles e.g. secretary or teacher.
A shout-out to Hazel Frederick, the curious onlooker who watched Mary Tyler Moore toss her beret into the air in the opening scene of one of television’s best-loved sitcoms. As per her obit in the LA Times in 1999, Frederick was shopping in downtown Minneapolis one day in 1969 when a camera crew filmed Moore in the here-I-come hat toss for the opening of her long-running “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Frederick’s puzzled reaction was caught on film as she stood in the background in a green coat with fur collar and matching scarf. A neighbor spied Frederick on the first episode of the show and word was spread among Frederick’s family. Alerted by a daughter, Frederick finally saw her widely televised image on the third episode. She remained largely anonymous to the watching world until 1996, when Moore was in her area for a book signing. Moore invited Frederick to join her on stage and introduced her to 5,000 people as “my co-star.”