Mary Tyler Moore was the name of 70’s. Having achieved fame from hit sitcoms, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, and scoring six Emmy awards during an acting career, she was an American icon and served as an inspiration for many younger actresses, professional women, and feminists. However, Things weren’t that great in the beginning. She faced lifelong challenges that have impacted her personally and professionally.
In an interview recorded in 2013, she told about her lifelong struggle with numbers. It wasn’t until she was in her 50s that Moore discovered the cause: dyscalculia. She claimed that Maths played a great role in her life for shaping her career.
In her childhood years, she was mostly bullied for being a slow learner. She had tough time paying attention in class and keeping her learning pace with other kids. While in elementary school, her parents moved to California from New York, where she was held back a grade due to her poor academics.
I still was barely scraping by in school, and still without friends. There was little in my life which I did well.
She developed an interest for dancing when she was 17. In just few moments, the interest turned into passion. This was the Moore’s way of escaping her school and social woes. She discovered a dance school near her house that lead the path to her passion.
Dancing became the center of my life. While others won holy cards at school for excellence in scholarship, I was adding another second or two of balance to my arabesque
Dancing was the turning point of her life. Her confidence grew and so does her social skills. She stopped cursing herself. Her academics also improved greatly.
While she was in high school, Moore landed a job at a local television studio. She was working in mail room. Two years later, she took a job as a dancing elf in a recurring TV commercial. As her face became popular, she took different role in the industry. All these things led to her landing a role on The Dick Van Dyke Show, for which she won the first of six Emmy Awards.
Looking back on it, I realize that I have always chosen work that challenges me, because if I don’t go in to work a little scared, I don’t have any interest in it
At 50 years of her age, Moore accidentally discovered her dyscalculia when decided to talk to a psychologist who specialized in making career evaluations. Surprised at first, Moore said she was relieved to finally discover her dyscalculia. Now she knew the reason behind the struggles that her childhood grew through.
If back then they knew what it was, they wouldn’t have said to me, ‘You’re a bad girl,’ or ‘a stupid girl.
She also thanked that it was diagnosed earlier as then it could lead to a very different scenario. She might not have even considered dance as a career and never made it to where she is now.
Mary Tyler Moore struggled with health issues througout her life. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes early in the run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In later period of her life, she had heart and kidney problems and was nearly blind. She took her last breath on January 25, 2017 after cardiopulmonary arrest due to pneumonia. May her soul rest in peace.