Brand New Documentary About the Incredible Mary Tyler Moore

Liz R.
Written By Liz R.

Liz R. is a writer and educator in Indiana with an MFA in Creative Writing. She has been writing and teaching about movies, TV, and books for years. You can find her on TikTok

A brand new documentary about the life and legacy of Mary Tyler Moore is premiering this week on HBO (and the Max streaming platform). 

Here’s what you can expect from Being Mary Tyler Moore. 

About the Documentary

NPR reports:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was as barrier-busting, in its way, as the outspoken humor of All in the Family and the anti-war sentiment of M*A*S*H. All those shows, by the way, eventually ended up on the same Saturday night of programming on CBS — paired with The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnett Show. Then and now it remains the best night of television in television history. And this documentary, Being Mary Tyler Moore, helps you appreciate the show, and the actor, even more.

The film is directed by James Adolphus, a cinematographer and director who makes documentaries. 

He graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory and received the American Film Institute Conservatory Fisher Fellow Award. 

The movie’s logline reads, “Mary’s vanguard career, who, as an actor, performer, and advocate, revolutionized the portrayal of women in media, redefined their roles in show business, and inspired generations to dream big and make it on their own.” 

Being Mary Tyler Moore also includes interviews with stars like Bernadette Peters, Joel Grey, Phylicia Rashad, James Brooks, Rob Reiner, Normal Lear, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

About Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore in black and white
Mary Tyler Moore in Being Mary Tyler Moore. Image from YouTube

Tyler Moore was an iconic American actress who rose to fame by playing two of the best-known women in popular sitcoms: Laura Petrie (the wife of Dick Van Dyke’s Rob Petrie) in The Dick Van Dyke Show and Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. 

Her portrayal of Laura was that of a witty, stylish, and independent woman. She took those same themes to her portrayal of Mary Richards, who is considered to be the first single, working woman on TV. 

Additionally, Mary Tyler Moore: 

  • Starred in Ordinary People, directed by Robert Redford in 1980. She played a grieving mother, and she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for the role. 
  • Continued to appear on TV series throughout her career, including an appearance on ER
  • Performed on Broadway, including in productions of Whose Life Is It Anyway? and Sweet Sue

Mary Tyler Moore’s work went beyond her groundbreaking performances. She was also an advocate for diabetes research and awareness after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 33. 

Mary Tyler Moore passed away at the age of 80, on January 25, 2017. During her lifetime, she made incredible contributions to television and culture, especially in terms of how women show up on TV. 

When & Where to Watch Being Mary Tyler Moore

Of course, a simple, short biography could never explain just how important this incredible woman was to the world. But the documentary can help you understand more about this vibrant icon. 

You can watch Being Mary Tyler Moore on HBO or stream it on the new Max platform (previously HBO Max). 

The show will air and begin streaming on May 26.