Brooklyn born Mary Tyler Moore passed away at 80.
Mary played Laura Petrie (of New Rochelle, NY) for much of my early childhood, and then, from the magical era of my age 7-14 years, she was the uber-cool Mary Richards of Minneapolis, a 30-something single working girl (a t.v. news producer; the back story is that she broke up with a man she supported through medical school). For a political blog (that pretty much no one reads) I certainly do spend what seems (to me anyway) an inordinate amount of time on celebrity deaths, I’ll admit that this is that rare one that periodically brings me to tears notwithstanding, of course, that I never knew Ms. Moore in actuality, even though I thought I did.
Probably because it marks a major turning point, whether to me, or to the culture writ large. Mary Tyler Moore the person had a private life, with its own tragedies (she was divorced more than once, her only child died at 24 of a shotgun accident, and she suffered from, among other things, alcoholism and diabetes). She was also an amazing serious actress, as her performance in the movie Ordinary People demonstrated. But Mary the fixture of Saturday nights was a beacon of calm in a roiling culture,,, calmly depicting discussion of issues raging in the real world of the 1970’s, particularly issues affecting the changing role of women, amidst the still-formulaic world of television… reality in art, long before any remaining value of the television medium was sucked away in the cesspool known as “reality television,” which in turn has blessed us with the elevation of… well, never mind.
Those who know me know that I’m barely passed the one-year mourning period following my father’s death, and in the last year, lost two of my friends of his vintage (and Ms. Moore herself was born just four months before my father). And all of this transpires against a maelstrom of national madness that a minority of our countrymen have inflicted on us. And it’s not as if we were starting from a great place, either. And so, one must somehow continue to hold it together.
Time marches on, I know. Another icon of a key part of my life (and those of my contemporaries) passes on. It’s the way of the world. Hang in there: you’re going to make it after all.