How Dance Jump-Started Mary Tyler Moore's Career

January 25, 2017

Moore dancing with Dick Van Dyke on his show in the ’60s.

Yesterday, firecracker actress Mary Tyler Moore passed away at age 80. Most people remember her as the star of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” where, for seven seasons in the 70s, she played Mary Richards, the lovable, single career gal. But do you know how she got her start in TV? Dancing.

Before she was a silver screen star, Moore aspired to be a dancer, and that passion was her gateway into showbiz. Back in the ’50s, Moore’s first TV job was quite the quirky gig: As “Happy Hotpoint” she gleefully danced as an elf to promote Hotpoint brand appliances.

Were Moore’s little elfin dances hokey? Of course. But they’re a charming look into the past. Check out her spot for high-tech appliances like the (gasp!) dishwasher and clothes dryer.

Though she left appliances behind, she didn’t give up her dancing shoes. On “The Dick Van Dyke Show” during the ’60s, she often appeared in song-and-dance routines, and even played a former dancer. Starting at 1:48, you can watch Moore and Van Dyke tap dancing in shackles.