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September 22, 2021

Dick Van Dyke Had Crush on Mary Tyler Moore & Influenced Her Career - Inside Their Close Relationship

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Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore co-starred on the '60s hit show "The Dick Van Dyke Show" as Laura and Rob Petrie, and besides their on-screen chemistry, the two were crushing on each other in real life.

Dick Van Dyke was born to Loren Wayne Van Dyke and Hazel Victoria in 1925, in Missouri. He went on to act in several minor roles before he shot to fame after he won a Tony Award for the 1960 musical "Bye-Bye Birdie." 

He went on to appear in other roles in several other films such as the 1964 "Mary Poppins," "What A Way To Go," and also the 1967 "Divorce American Style." Throughout his on-screen career, Dyke has bagged several enviable accolades, including several Emmys. 

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MARY TYLER MOORE

Moore was born in Brooklyn in 1936, and soon after, her family moved to California. Her mother was an alcoholic, and this made Moore's childhood a nightmare.

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She started as a dancer, performing for commercials, but as she progressed, she began taking on roles as a guest star in the TV series "Richard Diamond, Private Detective."

Dyke and Moore first met after Dyke was cast for the "The Dick Van Dyke Show," and the brains behind what was considered one of the most exceptional shows on TV, Carl Reiner, was looking to see if Moore would qualify to play Laura. 

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At the time, Moore was in her early twenties. Dyke remembers wondering if the young girl was fit for comedy, thinking to himself that she was too young, but the moment Reiner saw her, he knew she would be a perfect fit. 

THE DREAM TEAM

After joining the show, Moore quickly picked up the pace, and a few episodes in, she was already making her co-stars laugh with her genius comic timing. Dyke recalls their first few moments on the show:

"She just grabbed onto the character and literally turned us into an improv group, it was so well-oiled. That show was the best five years of my life."

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The duo had on-screen chemistry that would be confused with a real-life romance, and Dyke would, later on, come to admit that even though theirs was an instant connection and crush, their bond would accurately be likened to that of siblings. 

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They were a dream team, and Dyke, being older and more experienced, guided Moore through the ins and outs of television. He was generous and would celebrate her wins with her. 

The show ran for six consecutive years, and in 1966, they all won the Emmys in the comedy category, which was added only that year. But the win accompanied sad news. CBS had canceled their show. 

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MOORE'S NEW SHOW

While it was unknown to the stars of the show, Moore's character came along strongly as the wife that did menial housework, but in an attempt to prove that she could do so much more, they created a special - "Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman." 

And this new twist somehow convinced CBS to agree to a new show, which was named "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." It resonated with many women, making it an instant hit, and Moore did it justice. 

In 1970, Moore ended the show, but her subsequent roles often fell short of the Mary Richards character. After trying to star in several roles without success, she finally started landing dramatic roles in films such as "Ordinary People" and "Finegan Begin Again," among others.  

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MARRIAGES 

Dyke married Marjorie Torrell Willett in 1948, and together, they had four children. They wed on the radio show "Bride and Groom" as it provided home appliances and wedding rings. After their wedding, the two lovebirds were so broke they lived in their car for a while. 

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Their marriage, however, did not survive the test of time, and after being separated for a long while, they finally divorced in 1984. While separated from Willett, Dyke started dating Michelle Triola Marvin, who he was with until her passing on in 2009. 

She had been diagnosed with diabetes in 1969.

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He met his current wife in 2006 at the SAG Awards, and six years later, they married.

Moore's first marriage was to Richard Meeker in 1955. From this marriage, she had her first, and only child Richard Meeker Jr. The union lasted seven years before they divorced and went their separate ways. 

Moore would find love again in Grant Tinker, who she married in 1962, and divorced in 1981 before marrying Robert Levine in 1983. The marriage lasted the rest of her life.

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A SERIES OF MISHAPS

Moore's life after the show was filled with lots of mishaps, beginning with the death of her sister in 1978 from a drug overdose, followed by her son in 1980, in a bizarre accident where he shot himself.

In 1991, her only brother passed on after suffering from cancer. And yet, this was only a fraction of the downs that were riddling Moore's life. She had been diagnosed with diabetes in 1969. To top it all up, she was an alcoholic.

REMEMBERING MOORE 

In 2017, Moore finally waved the world goodbye and passed on at 80 from a pneumonia-related cardiopulmonary arrest. 

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Her co-star and on-screen husband Dyke paid his tribute in a simple message, recalling how much of a legacy she had left behind. He says that besides her family, he was the proudest of her achievements.

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He added how much of a thrill it had been for him to see her scale the heights to become one of TV's most celebrated stars. He wrote saying:

"There are no words. She was the best! We always said that we changed each other's lives for the better."

Many celebrities and fans who knew her personally and from her loved-by-all TV shows came out to pay tribute to Moore in sweet and special messages, celebrating a life well-lived.

The likes of Oprah Winfrey and Carol Burnett commented on how much she would be missed and were all thankful for the impact she had made and left on TV. 

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