Betty White at 99, Becomes the Only Remaining Main Cast Member of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’
The Mary Tyler Moore Show is the sitcom that paved the way for all the sitcoms to date. Arguably, it ranks highest amongst the best sitcoms ever made.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show was produced by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns and aired from September 19, 1970, to March 19, 1977, on CBS. The sitcom had 168 episodes spread across seven seasons.
The show revolved around Mary Richards, an unmarried, self-sufficient lady who works as an associate producer for Minneapolis's fictional WJM news station. She befriends her colleagues and neighbors while trying to adjust to her new life.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show is widely appreciated by both fans and critics. As a result, it has earned many awards, including 29 Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes.
One reason this 70s' hit show has been critically acclaimed is because of its ensemble cast.
The protagonist and namesake, Mary Tyler Moore, was joined by talented entertainers like Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Valerie Harper, Rhoda Morgenstern, Georgia Engel, Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman, and Betty White.
Unfortunately, most of them have passed away, and White is the only alive cast member from the show.
Four Deaths In 2021
It’s been a tough year for The Mary Tyler Moore Show fans since Asner’s demise on August 28, 2021, marked the death of the fourth main cast member of the show. The actor was 91 when he passed away.
Asner, a renowned actor, activist, and union leader, was the last living member of The Mary Tyler Moore Show's original core ensemble. For seven years, he played the role of Lou Grant, the news director of WJM-TV.
The actor became the first TV star to play the same role in two different comedies thanks to the groundbreaking series. Asner starred as a fresh iteration of Grant's character in the CBS drama Lou Grant as a big-city newspaper editor.
During the series' run, Asner won three Emmys and received seven consecutive nominations for Supporting Comedy Actor for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and two additional Emmys for Lead Drama Actor for Lou Grant.
Earlier this year, Leachman, who played Richards' friend and landlady Phyllis Lindstrom, died in January at the age of 94. The same month Burns, the co-creator of the show, died at 85.
MacLeod, who played news reporter Murray Slaughter for the whole duration of the show, passed away in May at 90. Moore, on the other hand, passed away in 2017 at 80.
Betty White — The Last Remaining Member
While White is not part of the original core of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she is considered one because of her impact on viewers. She joined the sitcom in 1973 for the last three seasons.
She played the role of Sue Ann Nivens, the host of WJM's The Happy Homemaker show from Season 4 to Season 7. While Nivens' behavior appears to be pleasant on the surface, she is sly under that mask.
She shared the most screen time with Asner since Nivens was romantically interested in Grant. Until his death, Asner appreciated his time with White. In January 2021, he wished White for her 99th birthday via Twitter.
He posted a picture of the two on the show and penned an adorable message. Asner said he loved White, and after all these years, he still gets warm when he looks at their picture.