TV

TV Trivia: The Mary Tyler Moore Show

A1. What was the name of the hour-long television show that Edward Asner starred in after The Mary Tyler Moore Show went off the air on March 19, 1977?

A2. Which of the original cast members of The Mary Tyler Moore Show also starred in the 1980 movie Caddyshack?

From 1970 to 1977, The Mary Tyler Moore Show aired on CBS and kept the baby boomer generation laughing at the television newsroom antics of Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), Lou Grant (Edward Asner), Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), and Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod).

Incoming new characters Georgette (Georgia Engel, 1972-1977) and Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White, 1973-1977) took up the slack when best friend Rhoda Morganstern (Valerie Harper) left the show in 1974 to star in a spin-off (Rhoda), followed by landlady Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman) to star in a 2nd spin-off (Phyllis), in 1975.

From the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the cast members gather: From left: Betty White, Gavin MacLeod, Edward Asner, Georgia Engels, Ted Knight, and Mary Tyler Moore.

mary tyler moore show cast, 1970s tv sitcoms, last episode, betty white sue ann nivens, gavin macleod, murray slaughter, edward asner, lou grant, georgia engel, georgette baxter, ted knight, ted baxter, mary tyler moore, tv shows, emmy awards, actors, actresses(The Mary Tyler Moore Show 1977 Cast Photo: CBS TV)

During it’s run The Mary Tyler Moore Show won 3 Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy Awards (1975, 1976 & 1977).

The Mary Tyler Moore Cast Update

Series star Mary Tyler Moore was already known to TV sitcom-lovers from her Emmy Award-winning work on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966); she won 3 more Emmy Awards for work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and another for for starring the in TV movie Stolen Babies (1993). She later starred in several short-lived television series in the next decades after The Mary Tyler Moore Show went off the air. She won a Tony Award in 1980, and was nominated for an Academy Award Best Actress for playing an emotionally frigid mother to a grieving son (Timothy Hutton) and husband (Donald Sutherland) in Robert Redford’s directorial debut Ordinary People (1980). Mary Tyler Moore had diabetes, heart issues and kidney problems for years prior to her January 2017 death from pneumonia complications at the age of 80. 

Ted Knight went on to star as Henry Rush in the sitcom Too Close for Comfort from 1980-1987. He died of colon cancer complications in 1986.

Two of the MTM cast died in 2020:

Valerie Harper starred in Rhoda for 4 years, from 1974-1978. Harper had received 3 Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series during her run on , and received another Emmy for Rhoda – Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. After Rhoda came Valerie (1986-1987), and other television roles. Harper also continued to perform on stage in her senior years, even competing on Dancing With the Stars in 2013 in her 70s. Valerie Harper died in August 2019 at the age of 80 from brain cancer.

Georgia Engel, who played Ted’s on-screen love Georgette, had a thriving career in films and as a semi-regular / star on several television series over the next 35+ years (Goodtime Girls, Coach, Everybody Loves Raymond, Passions, Hot in Cleveland). Engel received several Emmy Award nominations – 2 for her work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and another 3 for her Everybody Loves Raymond performances as Pat MacDougal. Georgia Engel passed away in April 2019 at the age of 70 from unknown causes (she was a Christian Science follower and did not consult doctors). 

Still kicking and taking no names career-wise in early 2020, are these active senior actors:

Gavin MacLeod starred in another long-running series, The Love Boat (1977-1987), as Captain Merrill Stubing. He’s kept active on stage, television, and films since then. Gavin MacLeod will turn 89 on February 28th, 2020. 

Edward Asner was a star of TV and movies for years before and after The Mary Tyler Moore Show, often playing Santa onscreen. He voiced the lovable old man in the feature film UP (2009), and his list of film and TV credits is approaching the 400 mark. Over his career, Asner has amassed 7 Primetime Emmy Awards – 3 for playing Lou Grant on The MTM Show, and another 2 for starring in the spin-off drama Lou Grant; 1 for his work as grim Axel Jordache on Rich Man, Poor Man (1976); and another for his portrayal of slaver Captain Thomas Davies on Roots (1977). In 2020 he’s involved in no less than 15 TV or movie projects, and Ed Asner was touring on stage as recently as 2019 when he turned 90 on his November 15th birthday.

Like Asner, Cloris Leachman has enjoyed a long career before and after The Mary Tyler Moore Show, with  her list of credits approaching 300. Some additional highlights from her career aside from starring in Phyllis (1975-1977) include playing mom Ruth Martin on Lassie (1957-1958), Beverly Ann Stickle on The Facts of Life (1986-1988), Maw Maw on Raising Hope (2010-2014). She’s topped Asner’s amazing Emmy Award count with 8 wins of her own – 2 for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and most recently another 2 as a guest actress on Malcolm in the Middle (2002 & 2006). Among her many movie credits are The Last Picture Show (1971) and Young Frankenstein (1974). In 2020 she has 5 feature film projects on the go (so far); she’ll turn 94 on her April 30, 2020 birthday.

Betty White has made a career out of being a funny, racy “older” woman and is an AARP commercial regular. She starred on the Hot in Cleveland (2010-2015) television comedy and on a 2013 episode was joined by friends Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper, Mary Tyler Moore, and Georgia Engel for an MTM reunion of sorts. No slouch when it comes to Emmy Awards herself, Betty has won 5 of them, among with are 2 from The MTM Show and another from her performance as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls (1985-1992) Lovely Betty White celebrated her 98th birthday on January 17, 2020.

Q1. Lou Grant, Ed Asner’s character from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Lou Grant was a drama set in a newspaper newsroom.

Q2. Ted Knight played Judge Elihu Smails in the movie Caddyshack

Note: This article was first published in 2015. It has been updated with new & additional content.

*Images are believed to be in the public domain and/or Creative Commons licensed & sourced via Wikimedia Commons, Vimeo, YouTube, or Flickr, unless otherwise noted*

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & baby boomer writer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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