Mary Tyler Moore didn't know much about Minneapolis before she was hired to play someone who lived here.
Not even about the weather: A California kid, Moore once recounted that she flew to the Twin Cities to film the opening credits for the Mary Tyler Moore Show and immediately discovered she'd woefully under-packed.
Moore's role as Mary Richards, a local TV news producer, eventually made her into a beloved (if honorary) figure in Minneapolis history.
Following on her co-starring turn on the Dick Van Dyke Show, Moore's role as Mary Richards won her legions of fans, three Emmy Awards, and an easily overlooked place in feminist progress. The Mary Richards character was a working woman, single, unapologetically ambitious, married to her job, and most nights, pretty good at it.
The show's last story arc was also something of a parable about show business -- or business, period. At the end, when all the hard working behind-the-scenes main characters are getting fired, the foolish but famous Ted Baxter gets to keep his job.
That series finale, which aired in 1977, is remembered as one of the best endings in television history, largely for its last scene. It's certainly among the most realistic, featuring a bunch of characters leaving a TV show and saying goodbye to each other, as played by a bunch of real people leaving a TV show and saying goodbye to each other.
Anyone who's seen it remembers the group hug(s) that no one wants to end. But it's also worth noting Moore's little speech, her last meaningful lines in the trailblazing character of Mary Richards.
"Well," she begins, "I just wanted you to know that sometimes I get concerned about being a career woman. I get to thinking my job is too important to me, and I tell myself that the people I work with are just the people I work with, and not my family. Last night I thought, what is a family? They're just some people who make you feel less alone, and who really love you. And that's what you've done for me. Thank you for being my family."
By that point, Moore's about to cry. So too, is anyone who woke up this morning thinking about Moore's contribution to local lore and TV history.