Lena Waithe is Making a Mary Tyler Moore Documentary

It’s difficult to fully explain the impact of television icon Mary Tyler Moore, but Lena Waithe and James Adolphus are going to try.

Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Endeavor Content announced they will be producing the upcoming documentary Being Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Documentary. Adolphus, who recently directed ABC’s documentary series Soul of a Nation, will direct. Being Mary is the first authorized biography of Moore, who died at the age of 80 in 2017.

Moore Defined a Vision of Womanhood

Being Mary will tell Moore’s story through “unprecedented access to her life and estate, loved ones, colleagues, and friends”, according to the project’s announcement. Moore starred on The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961 to 1966 before striking out on her own with The Mary Tyler Moore Show which ran for seven seasons and transformed how single, working women were portrayed in entertainment. On top of her small-screen starring roles, Moore appeared on Broadway and in cinema. She won 7 Emmys for her TV appearances and was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in 1980’s Ordinary People.

She was a feminist hero both onscreen and off, where she helped found production company MTM Enterprises with her then-husband, Grant Tinker. Moore’s MTM Enterprises produced not only The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoffs, but also Hill Street Blues, St. ElsewhereWKRP in Cincinnatiand many more.

“We love Mary for embodying the modern woman on television and defining a vision of womanhood that continues to inspire generations of Americans. In Being Mary, we honor that legacy by sharing her brilliant and nuanced life story,” said Adolphus.

“Mary Tyler Moore is an icon, mystery and an inspiration,” Waithe said. “With the help of her loving husband, Robert, and her friends and colleagues we hope to reveal that America’s sweetheart was more human than they ever imagined and was often put on a pedestal she never felt comfortable standing on.”

The film will be the first documentary project for Hillman Grad since its inception. The production company currently has several TV projects on multiple networks, including The ChiBoomerang, Twentiesand Them: Covenant. Moore’s husband, Dr. S. Robert Devine, is an executive producer on the documentary and has no doubts about the presentation of his wife’s work and life.

“In her high school yearbook, Mary wrote: ‘The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms’…and Mary always sought to surround herself with the best. To have extraordinary and purposeful talents like Lena and James tell Mary’s story honors her in a way I know she would have treasured,” he said in the doc’s announcement.

Being Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Documentary is planned for release in 2022.

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