Iconic Mary Richards, a spunky Minneapolis Minnesota newswoman, portrayed by the effervescent Mary Tyler Moore, has her own 8 ft. bronze statue. Mary stands on the corner of Nicollet Mall and 7th St, the same spot Mary famously tossed her hat towards the sky in the opening credits of the 1970’s sitcom. The theme song, “Who can turn the world on with a song,” was her anthem. Mary is now housed inside a Visitor’s Center, which provides guests with a hat that can be tossed in the air for a photo shoot.
I have never visited this statue, a friend alerted me to her existence. But she is definitely on my “To Do” list. When the statue was first erected in 2002 by Gwendolyn Gillen, she caused quite a stir. For those of you not familiar with the show, Mary was a trendsetter. She represented women everywhere when she broke free from the traditional role of wife and mother. Upon her death, her costar Dick Van Dyke, called her an urban legend who left an impression on the hearts of mankind.
I like to think I have a personal connection to Mary. She reminded me of my mother, a woman who also blazed the path for feminism. My mother, like many other women during WW11, embraced wartime as an opportunity to forge ahead in the workplace. She became an executive in the garment district and was often photographed wearing a wide-brimmed black hat that she “paid a lot for”. My mother wore that hat everywhere, and even though I never saw her throw it up in the air, I like to imagine she did.
Rumor has it that a concerned fan has provided Mary with a mask and gloves to keep her safe from the coronavirus. Of course, they did, she’s going “to make it after all.”