By Jeff Wagner


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The country is in mourning Wednesday for a woman who could “turn the world on with her smile.”

Mary Tyler Moore passed away at age 80 in Connecticut. Her passing is especially poignant for the Twin Cities.

While many Minneapolis landmarks were featured throughout the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” it was a house near Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis that became a “Mary” landmark.

The Minneapolis Landmarks Tied To ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’

She shared a home with her friends, Rhoda and Phyllis, along Lake of the Isles. The color of the home is not the same as it was when it was part of the show’s also iconic intro, but allure surrounding it remains. Built in 1900, the Victorian home on Kenwood Parkway is currently on the market, with an asking price of $1.7 million.

“It was a lot of pride, that’s what I felt,” said former neighbor Alan Freed. “It was just exciting knowing that I grew up so close to it. I mean, anyone in Minneapolis feels ownership of it.”

Fans and tourists have been visiting the home to take pictures ever since the show premiered back in 1970, especially the balcony to Mary’s bedroom. Another location in Minneapolis connected to the show is the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis.

In the show’s intro, Mary is seen going up the escalator. She also enjoys a meal at Basil’s Restaurant, where customers still ask to this day to sit at Mary’s table.

“Her character was outspoken and she stood up for herself,” Deborah Peterson of Shoreview said.

But it’s not just the places she visited in the city that people will remember the most about Mary and her show.

“I think for my generation [the show was] tremendously impactful,” said Lori Vicich, who works downtown. “I think you have a generation where many of us are in the work force and very proudly so, which is part of the reason you come to downtown Minneapolis and you go to the [Mary] statue as a female in the work force and say, ‘Look, I’m a professional and I’m proud of it.'”

Vicich says when she got her job downtown, she made sure she took a picture near the famous statue of Mary throwing her hat in the air.

“I went and got [a hat] that was similar to hers, just because it’s so iconic to downtown Minneapolis,” she said.

WCCO’s Dave Moore Goes Behind The Scenes Of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ In 1973

For more than a decade, visitors flocked to the corner of 7th Street and Nicollet Mall to throw their hat in the air just like Mary Richards.

Back in 2002, Mary was in Minneapolis for the unveiling of the eight-foot-bronze statue in her honor.

Since Nicollet Mall is under construction, the statue has moved to the Minneapolis Visitor Information office on the corner of 5th Street and Nicollet Mall.

Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, says Mary’s spirit was the epitome of “Minnesota nice.”

“I am not a native of Minneapolis, but I’ve been here now more than a decade, but my first actual introduction to Minneapolis was ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show.’ And I just remember the scene in the opening credits of her walking around the lake during the four seasons and obviously seeing the city skyline and all of the great things that were happening in the city,” Tennant said. “So I think that was really the case for a lot of people. It helped to put the city on the map.”

Amelia Santaniello’s Interview With Mary Tyler Moore From 2002

TV Land actually owns the statue, which will return to Nicollet Mall once construction is done later this year. WCCO-TV resides just a few blocks away from the statue. News producer Joan Gilbertson says Mary deserves more credit for inspiring several women like herself to make their mark in a then male-dominated industry.

“Growing up the in 70s and Women’s Movement all around, you wanted to see a woman who was being successful. She was definitely a role model for me,” Gilberston said. “There were so many women on TV who were housewives and homemakers. June Cleaver, Carol Brady, and Mary Tyler Moore had a real job. It was an important job.”

From the IDS center to Nicollet Mall and back to Mary’s famous home on the show, memories of her and her impact will clearly carry on in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota icon’s death has touched many, who have gone to social media to thank her and express their condolences. Even former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather went to Twitter to grieve.

Gov. Mark Dayton also issued a statement Wednesday after Mary’s death.

“Mary Tyler Moore will always be a Minnesota icon. The Mary Tyler Moore Show shared Minneapolis and our entire state with the world, as a place where everyone has the chance to work hard, follow dreams, and succeed. Minnesota will miss her,” Dayton said.

Here’s a sampling of other reactions.

Jeff Wagner

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