Fitting into that Happy's elf costume for the next block of commercials proved to be a challenge. I was now 3 months pregnant and my breasts reflected that fact.
Unlike June Cleaver in the 1950s, Laura Petrie did not wear pearls and an apron. Often seen in her trademark Capri pants, she represented the ideal suburban housewife of the Kennedy/Johnson era.
After Change of Habit, Mary returned to television. She stayed away from the big screen until her acclaimed Oscar-nominated performance in the 1980 film Ordinary People, directed by Robert Redford. In Ordinary People, Mary was electrifying as a repressed wife and mother. She surprised many by playing a character so unlike Laura Petrie and the other women she had previously played. Here's how Mary explained her decision to portray a different type of character role in the July 25, 1995 edition of the New York Daily News.
I love comedy and I hope always to have it a true part of my life. But I decided that I was not going to play any more characters with whom I was totally familiar It doesn’t interest me to play a very nice, very likeable, somewhat naive, vulnerable . . . you know, all those adorable features of the two lades I’ve played.In 1969, Mary Tyler Moore and her then-husband, Grant Tinker, formed a production company called MTM Enterprises. Its first project was The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977), one of the most memorable and successful situation comedies in television history. Mary was cast as Mary Richards, a single career woman who was the assistant producer of a Minneapolis television news show.
Remember too that there was Julia (1968-1971), a groundbreaking show in which Diahann Carroll became the first black female to play the lead role in a televison comedy who was not a domestic. In the series, Julia Baker was a widowed nurse raising a young son on her own.
EDITOR'S UPDATE (January 25, 2017): Beloved actress and TV icon Mary Tyler Moore passed away today at the age of 80.