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Mary Tyler Moore: After SAG Awards, what could be next?

January 29, 2012 |  7:33 pm

Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore at the Screen Actors Guild Awards 2012

Mary Tyler Moore took the stage Sunday to accept her award for career achievement, with her TV husband Dick Van Dyke singing her praises. And with Betty White onstage earlier to accept the award for female actor in a comedy series, the Screen Actors Guild Awards veered close to being an "MTM" episode of "This Is Your Life."

From the stage at the Shrine Exposition Hall in Los Angeles, Van Dyke recalled wondering aloud when he first met Moore: "Do you think she can do comedy?"

She could indeed, as she proved in her roles as Laura Petrie on the 1960s sitcom "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and later as Mary Richards on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

PHOTOS: Mary Tyler Moore's career

Moore could do drama too, with several serious roles on Broadway and TV. Her work in the heart-wrenching 1980 film "Ordinary People" earned her an Oscar nomination for lead actress.

Moore, of course, is perhaps best known for her role on her self-titled show, where she became the face of the modern single career woman. The pioneering role set the standard for countless female-driven comedy series, not to mention real-life careers. Even Oprah Winfrey has given credit to Moore.

Moore also has helped raised funds and awareness about abused animals. The actress, who contracted juvenile diabetes, has been outspoken about the disease and has supported research for most of her career.

On Sunday, Moore enchanted the audience, telling the tale of how her trademark show business name came to be. It seems there were too many "Mary Moores" already in Hollywood.

Told to change her name, Moore remembered thinking: “I can't change my name. ... What would my father say?” Then she realized she could add her her middle name of Tyler, which was also her father's middle name. A star was born.

When Moore finished her speech, Van Dyke gave her a smooch on the cheek.

But receiving a lifetime achievement award does not mean Moore considers her career to be in the past.

"If a really good part came along, a good script, I'd consider it," she told Los Angeles Times Television Critic Mary McNamara earlier.

Moore said she's a fan of "The Good Wife," and when asked if she would consider playing Diane's (Christine Baranski) aunt, she responded: "She's great." Then, she added with a Mary Richards-esque laugh, "Yeah, yeah, I'll mention it to my agent."


PHOTOS: Red carpet arrivals

PHOTOS: And the Actor goes to...

Mary Tyler Moore's taboo-breaking shows seen in new light

— Susan King and Mary McNamara

Photo: Mary Tyler Moore accepts her life achievement SAG award from Dick Van Dyke. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times