There's a sentimental reason why Mary Tyler Moore used her full name in Hollywood

Can you imagine a pseudonym for the great MTM?

Image: The Everett Collection

It's hard to imagine saying Mary Tyler Moore's name any other way. It has been so ingrained into our culture that you can't help but almost sing her name when discussing her career, or her books, or her many awards and recognitions. Her name is one that will live on in history.

What goes into making such a name for oneself? 

In 2012, Moore was honored with a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement award. During the acceptance speech, Moore shared a touching story about her start in the industry. As we all know, Moore made her first appearance on television as Happy Hotpoint, the tiny dancing elf that sold Hotpoint appliances in TV commercials.

Prior to landing this job, Moore had to figure out how to introduce herself in the industry. This meant filing her name with SAG in the hopes of being accepted into their ranks, not an easy feat for someone new to the biz.

"In 1955, I was 18 years old, determined to make my father proud, and prove to the sisters at Immaculate Heart High School that I would indeed amount to something," Moore shared with an enraptured audience.

"So, I sought out the Screen Actors Guild in hopes of becoming a member, but there was a small problem; it seems there were six other Mary Moores on the SAG pages."

This is when she received her first critique.

"Word came back: 'Wanna work in the business? Change your name, sweetheart.' Change my name? Come on, no. I’m Mary. Mary Moore. Everybody is going to know my name. I can’t change my name," she continued. Besides, what would my father say? I mean, it’s his name, too."

Moore reflected on her father's name – George Tyler Moore.

"[T]hen it hit me," she mused. "'Tyler' was my name too. I was Mary Tyler Moore. I spoke it out loud. 'Mary Tyler Moore' sounded right, so I wrote it down on the form, and it looked right. It was right."

At the time, Moore simply wanted to get her SAG application accepted. Little did she know that it would become one of the most well-recognized names in television. 

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BrittReid 1 month ago
Young MTM=Hottie.
JoeScheiss2 BrittReid 1 month ago
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Jhh 1 month ago
I want to know why she had such a hard-on for Coffee? Dick Van Dyke and in her show...it's strange - watch 8 eps and she will mention coffee in 7 of those if not 8
Pacificsun Jhh 1 month ago
I'm not sure that's true. But look at any "housewife" in a sitcom of that period. And what does the poor wife have to do? If not pouring a cup of "coffee" then serving a meal. And telling everyone to sit down for dinner. Talking about the children. But basically (no revelation here!) that role exists for the sake of conversation! Meaning in order to further the plot (storytelling). Probably the hardest "wife" role in the business was "Maureen" in Lost in Space! I mean she couldn't even clean the "house."
When she wasn't pouring coffee cooking, vacuuming, doing PTA stuff or shopping, she did manage to squeeze in some time to appear on a coast to coast talk show and tell the viewers that her husband's boss is bald! Not many sitcom wives can include that on their housewifery resume!
And did you noticed that both of them smoked because Kent was a sponsor? Moore said later she hated becoming addicted to cigarettes!
daDoctah cperrynaples 1 month ago
She also picked up a drinking problem somewhere along the way, which caused her problems when she was diagnosed as diabetic. She responded to the news by going out and driving drunk (diabetics aren't supposed to have alcohol anyway, and are certainly not supposed to drive when they're drinking!). And when she checked in to rehab for the drinking problem, they insisted on taking all medications away from her, which included whatever she was on for the blood sugar (no exceptions in those days for legitimate, necessary drugs; if it's a pill you can't have it with you).
Wiseguy cperrynaples 24 days ago
Unfortunately, MTM smoked Pall Malls so she (and other people on the set, including DVD) took the free cartons she got from the sponsor, took them to the local market and had them exchanged for the brand she preferred. (from The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book by Vince Waldron).
mdit21 1 month ago
Obviously she made the right decision. I've haven't heard of any other Mary Moores who were so well known as MTM.
cperrynaples 1 month ago
Using her middle name may have gotten her the Dick Van Dyke Show! Seems that either Sheldon Leonard or Carl Reiner asked, "Who's the girl with three names?"...and the rest is history!
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