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Mary Tyler Moore celebrated in Minneapolis

Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore  

Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.

(CNN) -- She first flung her hat in the air 32 years ago, the celebratory ending of the opening credits of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Now Mary Tyler Moore has something else to celebrate -- a life-sized statue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of her character, Mary Richards, performing that signature move.

And you haven't seen the last of Mary. Later this month, she'll appear in a cast reunion of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" on TV.

CNN "American Morning" anchor Paula Zahn spoke to Moore Wednesday morning.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, she could turn the world on with her smile, and now 25 years after signing off, Mary Tyler Moore is getting ready to host a cast reunion of her classic TV show.

The one and only Mary Tyler Moore joins us on a very windy and cold Minneapolis morning. Mary, good to see you. Congratulations.

MARY TYLER MOORE, ACTRESS: Thank you, Paula. It's great to see you too.

ZAHN: I know you're going to have a tough time hearing me, so I'll do my best here. When you started the show 25 years ago, did you ever think it would have the impact it continues to have today?

MOORE: Oh, no, never in a million years did I think that. We were just thinking about the good work we were doing. I mean -- by that I mean that we were having fun. We were being challenged, and we were doing new things. We were actually doing comedy about interpersonal relationships, which is something that wasn't done up until that time, and now is not being done very often either, but we never thought about where it was going, or what it would mean, but I am delighted in retrospect to see that it paid off in all kinds of ways.

ZAHN: Well, you have caught up with a number of us in this business who have told you how you have singularly inspired some of us to go on and try to compete in the trenches. What do you think Mary Richards really does represent?

MOORE: I think she represents an indomitable spirit, that she believes, as everyone can, in possibilities. She does not take "no" for an answer. She's got an energy, and she keeps feeding that energy, and taking from it. She's about loyalty. She is about a sense of humor, about herself and life, and that she's about a little bit of wisdom, not too much to get into trouble, but enough to carry on.

ZAHN: Well, Mary Richards certainly a departure from Laura Petrie [Moore's character on "The Dick Van Dyke Show']. When you took on the role, were you concerned that audiences would still stay frozen in time, and not be able to accept you or this transition from this very traditional mom to a single career woman?

MOORE: Yes, we were afraid of that, and that's one of the reasons why I wear that ridiculous looking wig in the first year. I was trying to get a different look from the "Dick Van Dyke Show" so that they wouldn't think it was Laura Petrie who has come in a new incarnation. If a show is done well, if it is well written and well cast, you don't have too much to worry about. If you're doing it -- really the best you can, people will go along with it.

When I was on Broadway doing "Whose Life Is It Anyway," I'm told that it was rumored what they were going to see was -- it was the story of a quadriplegic who was fighting for the right to die. Very serious dramatic role, and the word around town was, we're going to see Mary Richards goes to the hospital, but they were quickly disavowed of that, and just bought right into it immediately.

ZAHN: Well, that is due to your acting talents. We also mentioned you're going to have this reunion of your cast members.


ZAHN: Yours is not the first long-running show to attempt that. Why all the interest with the public for these old, wonderful shows?

MOORE: I think that everybody wants to feel cozy and warm and safe again. Our memories of those prior innocent times mean a lot to us and we want to go back and re-enjoy them and re-appreciate the values that they helped give us, through laughter and through thought of all kinds.

It's a great special. It's not all of us sitting around on the couch and pretending to be inventing our dialogue, but really doing scripted stuff. This is me one-on-one with everyone in the show, except Ted Knight, to whom we do a tribute, and we learned some very interesting things. It's on Monday, May 13th at 10:00.

ZAHN: We will stay tuned, and for those of us that can't stay up that late, we will tape it. Mary, before we let you go, what do you think of your bronze likeness? How did they do?

MOORE: It's wonderful. [Sculptor] Gwendolyn Gillen captured so much of what is Mary Richards. All those abstract qualities that we were talking about. It's not just a replication of my face and body, although she did a very good job on all of that, too. I think I look a little too tan, however.

ZAHN: I think it looks just right. We're going to give you the opportunity, since you're clutching your beret there, would you like to recreate the hat throwing scene?

MOORE: Would you like to do that? All right.

ZAHN: I would love for you to do it.

MOORE: OK. Well, I'm getting ready.

ZAHN: Fire away.

MOORE: And here it goes. (flings hat in the air)

ZAHN: Yahoo. Mary Tyler Moore, we'll save that one for history banks.

MOORE: Thank you.




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