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Mary Richards Statue - Life-size bronze statue inspired by the Mary Richards character on the sitcom THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW/CBS/1970-77.

Mary Richards Statue in Minneapolis

On Wednesday May 8, 2002 at 7:00am about 3000 onlookers braved early morning cold (43 degrees) as Larry W. Jones, the General Manager of cable channel TV Land along with Mayor R.T. Rybak, Councilmember Lisa Goodman unveiled the eight-foot bronze statue of Mary Richards as composer Sonny Curtis performed a special rendition of the series theme song "Love is all around."

A metal placard at the base of the statue reads: "Mary Tyler Moore - Who can turn the world on with a smile? Presented by the people of (TV LAND Logo)".

On hand for the dedication was 64 year old actress Mary Tyler Moore who played the role of Mary Richards - a single, independent woman (and symbol of women's liberation) who worked as a newsroom producer at the fictional WJM-TV station.

The eight-foot statue was created by Milwaukee, Wisconsin sculptor Gwendolyn Gillen. Built and installed for a cost of $150,000, the statue stands on Marshall Field's side of the Nicollet Mall at Seventh Street in downtown Minneapolis in the exact spot where Mary Richards threw her hat in the air during the opening sequence of each episode.

At the end of the ceremony, Mary Tyler Moore recreated her famous hat toss for the crowd of fans. Earlier that morning Mary had done numerous hat tosses for the many photographers on hand to record the historic homage.

About 1,000 tams had been distributed to the spectators for a massive toss but when the time came to toss the hats, nobody wanted to throw their tam away.

During the event Mary Tyler Moore gave satellite interviews to such TV anchors as ABC's Diana Sawyer, NBC's Bryant Gumbel and CNN's Paula Zahn.

Upon seeing the statue Mary Tyler More told newscaster Paula Zahn "She did a very good job on all of that, too. I think I look a little too tan, however."

Not everybody was happy with the idea of a statue. Detractors of the celebration commented "Why is TV Land putting up this statue? Is it marketing? If it's marketing and the mayor is buying into it, then we are complicit in marketing the TV Land network (Minneapolis-Issues commentator Tim Connolly) and "It's like honoring a unicorn. It's honoring something that doesn't exist." (Clay Steinman, a communication studies professor at Macalester College in St. Paul).

This was not the first time TV LAND had dedicated a statue to a TV character. In August, 2000 the TV LAND network erected a 1,000 pound eight-foot bronze statue of Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden character from the sitcom THE HONEYMOONERS at New York City's Port Authority Bus Station on 42nd Street in Mid Manhattan.

The network, which is owned by Viacom Inc., is also considering statues of Joe Friday, (played by Jack Webb) on DRAGNET, for Los Angeles, and Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry (played by Andy Griffith) on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, for Raleigh, North Carolina (in lieu of the fictional town of Mayberry).

Minneapolis Advertisement of the TV LAND Statue Dedication

Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards tossing her hat into the air in downtown Minneapolis

TV LAND Promotional Ad from Minneapolis The toss that inspired
the statue.

At the end of the opening sequence of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, actress Mary Tyler Moore, in the role of career woman Mary Richards, wanders through downtown Minneapolis. In a fit of joy and liberation, Mary tosses her tam into the sky as the theme music concludes and the film stops - freezing the hat in mid air.

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