Michelle Obama Reflects on How Much Mary Tyler Moore Meant to Her

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images; CBS

Remembrances and tributes to the late television icon Mary Tyler Moore have been pouring in all day following her death, with many noting the major significance of her ‘70s sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and how ably it pioneered a different depiction of women on television. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Michelle Obama is one of the outspoken enthusiasts of the seminal series, as the former First Lady made her feelings known during an interview with Variety last summer about how the show significantly influenced her and her life. “She was one of the few single working women depicted on television at the time,” Obama explained. “She wasn’t married. She wasn’t looking to get married. At no point did the series end in a happy ending with her finding a husband — which seemed to be the course you had to take as a woman. But she sort of bucked that. She worked in a newsroom, she had a tough boss, and she stood up to him. She had close friends, never bemoaning the fact that she was a single. She was very proud and comfortable in that role.”

Obama fondly recalled the ritual of watching the show with her family over dessert when she was a preteen: “I was probably 10 or 11 when I saw that, and sort of started thinking, ‘You know what? Marriage is an option. Having a family is an option. And going to school and getting your education and building your career is another really viable option that can lead to happiness and fulfillment.’” Oprah would definitely agree.

Michelle Obama on Mary Tyler Moore’s Influence