Legendary actress Mary Tyler Moore sadly passed away on Wednesday. Since then, tributes have poured in from fans and fellow celebrities, reminiscing about how Moore had inspired them. The list of people (especially women) Moore inspired is long, and as it turns out, includes former First Lady Michelle Obama.
In an interview with Variety last summer, Michelle Obama talked about how The Mary Tyler Moore Show had inspired her when she was growing up in the '70s. Obama recalled watching Moore's show on Saturday nights while eating dessert with her family, and how it shaped her ideas of what it meant to be a woman in society.
“She was one of the few single working women depicted on television at the time,” Obama told Variety. “She wasn’t married. She wasn’t looking to get married. At no point did the series end in a happy ending with her finding a husband — which seemed to be the course you had to take as a woman. But she sort of bucked that. She worked in a newsroom, she had a tough boss, and she stood up to him. She had close friends, never bemoaning the fact that she was a single. She was very proud and comfortable in that role."
Michelle Obama recalled how important watching Mary Tyler Moore's portrayal of a confident, independent, single woman was for her. She told Variety:
I was probably 10 or 11 when I saw that, and sort of started thinking, ‘You know what? Marriage is an option. Having a family is an option. And going to school and getting your education and building your career is another really viable option that can lead to happiness and fulfillment.
I personally have been inspired by both Mary Tyler Moore AND Michelle Obama. Thanks for being awesome, ladies. May the great Mary Tyler Moore rest in peace.