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Mary in the newsroom with Ted and Murray
Mary in the newsroom with Ted & Murray

Now, while Mary's Teddy Award was probably her proudest moment at WJM-TV, perhaps her lowest point happened when she accidentally revealed a secret about Lou Grant. An action which she sorely wishes she could take back. What could have been so bad? Well, Lou Grant had made the mistake of sleeping with Sue Anne Nivens. No one knew about his affair except Mary, but she let it slip to the newsroom staff. This totally enraged Lou, who thought that Mary had betrayed their friendship. When Lou began to shun Mary, she became devastated. How could she live with shame of her mistake and with the fact she might have hurt her closest friend. Thankfully, Lou forgave Mary and their friendship continued. Mary's catchphrase was "Ohh, Mr. Gr-a-a-ant!"

Murray: You're afraid to show anyone that you have negative feelings about them. You're a pushover because people know that you'll never be angry with them.
Mary: I do so...get angry!
Murray: C'mon, let's forget about it. Do you have some gum?
Mary: Yes, I have gum, Murray! I have two pieces of gum, and I want them both! And I am not afraid to tell you that because I am sick and tired of you always bumming gum from me, Murray! Yes, I have gum. You're too damn lazy to go out and buy yourself your own package because you're always so sure that you're gonna get mine! Well, this time you're wrong, Murray. I have gum. Sugarless cherry, Murray. That's right, sugarless cherry, your most favorite and most beloved kind! And I am not afraid to tell you that you are not getting any!
[Mary hands him a stick of the gum; he accepts.]

Mary & her coworkers
Mary & Friends

Mary's personal life often included her many friends at the newsroom who dropped by her apartment to visit or to attend one of her parties. Now Mary may have been a whiz planning events in the newsroom, she just could not throw a successful party. Like clockwork, something always went wrong, but like troopers, Mary's friends always showed up every time she had a social gathering in her apartment. Things that went wrong included:

  • Lou and Mary help deliver the baby when Georgette gives birth at Mary's dinner party.
  • Mary throws a party for Congresswoman Margaret Gettys. Unfortunately, the power goes out and no one gets to "see" special dinner guest Johnny Carson who shows up for the festivities.
  • Mary throw Mr. Grant a surprise party and Lou, unable to stand great displays of affection, won't let any of the guests into Mary's apartment
  • Again, Mary invites Congresswoman Gettys over for dinner, but discovers she doesn't have enough room to seat Ted at her table. She also has to tell Mr. Grant who pigs out on the dinner food to put some food back so there will enough for the other five guest at the table.  
Murray: Shouldn't we be doing something? A woman is giving birth to a baby in Mary's bedroom!
Sue Ann: I know, and it's probably the most exciting thing that'll ever happen in there.

Besides friends visiting her apartment, Mary's relative's also came knocking on her door. They included Dotty Richards, Mary's mother and Dr. Walter Reed Richards, Mary's father - both actually moved to Minneapolis to be near their daughter (Shades of cut the cord, already); and Flo Meredith, Mary's hard-drinking, journalist aunt who dated Lou Grant for a while.

Around the time that Rhoda decided to move back to New York City (she married, then divorced Joe Girard) and Phyllis moved to San Francisco when her husband Lars died, Mary decided to move into a new apartment at 932 N. Weatherly. Of course, the first thing Mary did was to bring her large letter "M" which she kept in her old apartment and mount it in a place of honor on the wall of her new high-rise apartment.

In 1977, the owners of WJM-TV decided to sell the station. Unfortunately, the new owners fired everyone, except, for Ted Baxter, the station's moronic news anchor. Before Mary went on to bigger and better things, she shared a lengthy group hug, sang "It's a long way to Tipparary" and offered the heartfelt proclamation "Thank you for being my family." When everyone else had gone, Mary retuned to the newsroom, leaned back through the WJM-TV doors and then turned out the light.

Eventually, Mary found work at ABC Network News in New York from 1977 to 1990, She also earned her masters degree in journalism at NYU (she originally lied about having a college degree on her job application to Mr. Grant). In addition, Mary found time to marry US Congressman Cronin and have a daughter named Rose Cronin.

By the way, after Lou Grant was fired in 1977, at the age of 50, he moved to California and took a job as city editor for the Los Angeles Tribune, a crusading newspaper owned by Margaret Pynchon (a pit bull named for Lou Grant kills her pet Yorkshire terrier, Barney).

In 2000, after her husband died in a rock climbing accident, a sixty-year-old Mary traveled to Italy to mourn and then returned to New York City to take a job as a journalist for a TV station at WNYT-TV. Her now grown daughter Rose wanted to be stand-up comic (she attended New York University). Struggling with a nearly empty bank account courtesy of her deceased husband (who spent their wealth on political campaigns), Mary tried to restart her career as a journalist and properly raise her daughter.

Coincidentally, Rhoda Morgenstern Gerard Rousseau (now twice divorced) returned from Paris, France with her own daughter, Meredith Rousseau (a pre-med student at Columbia University) to work for a photographer in New York City. Rhode hoped to restart her dormant career as a photographer (and wondered if her work was worthy of gallery status.).

Mary and Rhoda had been estranged for eight years because Mary didn't approve of Rhoda's last husband (who turned out to be a philanderer). While in Europe, Mary tried to contact Rhoda in Paris not knowing who had moved back to the states. By chance, the two reunited when Rhoda spotted Mary ("Mare") hopping into a cab in Manhattan.

Mary: What did you do in Paris?
Rhoda: Well, I went back to my first love. Of course, you can only eat for so long.


Mary & Rhoda with their grown daughters

After catching up on old times, Mary & Rhoda set about to spend their remaining years (sans their Minneapolis friends), enjoying life and trying to reconnect with their two rebellious daughters (the new Mary and Rhoda) who were both just beginning to learn about life on their own.

Through all the changes, the one constant in Mary's life was her big letter "M" which she again proudly displayed in her new Manhattan apartment. "To New Beginnings!"

Continued on next page >


 

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