Tag Archives: Mary Tyler Moore

Happy Birthday, Betty White

17 Jan

Betty_White_2010Happy Birthday, Betty White.  White, a National Treasure, turns 93 today.  In addition to her animal rights activism and her long successful career in film and television, she is also a proponent of equal rights for the LGBT community. White  was quoted: “Gays love old ladies. I don’t care who anybody sleeps with. If a couple has been together all that time—and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones—I think it’s fine if they want to get married.”  Her character of Sue Ann Nivens, the Happy Homemaker, on Mary Tyler Moore was one of my favorite roles of White’s.  And what gay man did not watch White in the Golden Girls? Currently, I am enjoying watching Betty White as Elke Ostrovsky on Hot In Cleveland.

Of course, I love White’s fight against misogyny with her comment:

Why do people say “Grow some balls?”  Balls are weak and sensitive!  If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!

Brava, to our much beloved Betty White. Of course, for me she will always be the ever charming Sue Ann Nivens. Here is our Sue Ann as a “Tawny Beast.”

Women’s History Month 2013: Valerie Harper

15 Mar

Valerie_HarperToday I would like to honor another remarkable woman who has been a big part of my life for the past 40 years. As regular TSM readers know, I have always loved the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Part of me wanted to be Mary, but I’ve always had a lot of Rhoda in me. I actually put this in my essay when I applied to the school of social work. Her bold, outspoken nature and very human insecurities made her a wonderful character, and no-one could have brought her to life other than the incomparable Valerie Harper.

She was born in Suffern, NJ in 1939; her family moved frequently for her father’s work (including a couple of years here in Ashland, Oregon). When they left NJ, she moved to New York to pursue her dream of dancing. She obtained her degree and began chorus work, rising to lead roles and eventually moving into television after a bit part in the film version of a Broadway show she had appeared in. The casting agent for MTM saw her and knew that she had found her Rhoda. Nine years later, Harper had four Emmy awards, one Golden Globe, and seven nominations for her groundbreaking role.

More significantly, she had shown another kind of independent woman. Unlike Mary’s clear career path, Rhoda was always more of a free spirit. She had her own life and lived it proudly. She also went through one of the first prime time divorces, showing the difficulties of relationships in an honest way while retaining her quirky charm and joy. Harper also notes proudly that she was one of the first actors to use the word “gay” on prime time network television, on one of my favorite episodes of MTM, My Brother’s Keeper–a must see episode!

While acting on stage and television, she was also a strong advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment and women’s rights. She was as outspoken as her famous television persona and helped put a familiar face on these important issues. She also co-founded L.I.F.E. with Dennis Weaver, an LA organization that provided meals for the underserved and marginalized. In recognition for her work, the Women’s Film Institute awarded her their Humanitarian award in 1987.

Sadly, Valerie Harper is back in the news for tragic reasons. A lung cancer survivor, she recently discovered that the cancer has returned in a rare and nearly untreatable form of brain cancer. Rather than retreat, she is using her personal struggle to encourage others. In print and television interviews, she stresses how lucky she has been and encourages everyone to live their lives to the fullest while they can.

Don’t go to the funeral until the day of the funeral!

She also notes how lucky she is to have great health care through her union. Never shy, she reminds everyone that universal health care should be a right and expectation and that unions work hard to create a level playing field for all workers. Yes, it is obvious I love our  Valerie Harper.  I am confident that she will prevail.  I  thank you for your great work and thank you for allowing me to celebrate you during Women’s History Month!

Happy Birthday, Betty White

17 Jan

Happy Birthday, Betty!

Happy Birthday, Betty White.  White, a National Treasure, turns 90 today.  In addition to her animal rights activism and her long successful career in film and television, she is also a proponent of equal rights for the LGBT community. White  was quoted: “Gays love old ladies. I don’t care who anybody sleeps with. If a couple has been together all that time—and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones—I think it’s fine if they want to get married.”  Her character of Sue Ann Nivens, the Happy Homemaker, on Mary Tyler Moore was one of my favorite roles of White’s.  And what gay man did not watch White in the Golden Girls? Years later, I’m enjoying her as the feisty mob bride on Hot In Cleveland.

Of course, I love White’s fight against misogyny with her comment:

Why do people say “Grow some balls?”  Balls are weak and sensitive!  If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!

Brava, to our much beloved Betty White. Of course, for me she will always be the ever charming Sue Ann Nivens. Here is our Sue Ann as a “Tawny Beast.”

Happy Birthday, Mary Tyler Moore

29 Dec

For those of us that grew up in the 1970’s, Mary Tyler Moore was an icon and a symbol of the Women’s Rights’ Movement.  There was a time we thought the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would pass.  For me, I never missed an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show on Saturday evenings.  I always wanted to be Mary, but in reality was probably more like Rhoda.  Of course, there are times when I’m like Sue Ann.  In addition to the Dick Van Dyke Show, before MTM, Mary was nominated for a best actress Oscar for Ordinary People, directed by Robert Redford.  Happy Birthday, Mary Tyler Moore.  You’re Gonna Make It After All.

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