R.I.P. Mary Tyler Moore, Brooklyn Heights Native

Mary Tyler Moore, the much loved and admired former star of her eponymous TV show, and before that co-star of the Dick Van Dyke Show, died today at her home in Greenwich, Connecticut. She was 80, and had suffered ill health for some years.

According to her New York Times obituary, she was born in Brooklyn Heights. She didn’t stay long, though. Her parents moved to Flushing, Queens and then. when she was eight, to Los Angeles. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Robert Levine.

Photo: by Nick Step; cropped by Beyond My Ken (talk) 20:43, 4 April 2014 (UTC) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Jorale-man

    Anyone know where she lived in the Heights? Tragic she had to move to Flushing.

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com/ Claude Scales

    I can’t find anything more specific than “Brooklyn Heights” which, in the late 1930s when she was born, could have been understood to have different boundaries than it does now. H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Horror at Red Hook”, written when he lived in the Heights, near Clinton and State streets, in the mid 1920s, had “Red Hook” encompassing all of what we now call Cobble Hill: http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/21453

  • Jorale-man

    Fascinating. I read one news account that Moore’s mother often told her that “you live in BH, not Flatbush” – as if to make sure she understood the differences between the neighborhoods (why Flatbush, I’m not sure).

  • Andrew Porter

    Because Flatbush or Canarsie were the typical dumb and funny BK neighborhoods, just like the Brooklyn Accent was synonymous for so many with any mention of Brooklyn.

  • Andrew Porter

    LA, Nov. 1970. “Mary Tyler Moore rehearsing and performing on the set of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. 35mm negative from photos by Douglas Jones for Look magazine” on Shorpy:


  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Hey! My mom’s from Flatbush (I’m faking insult).

  • TeddyNYC

    What’s tragic? In the 1930s, Brooklyn Heights was a rough neighborhood compared to now. Flushing may have been a better, safer place to live at that time which may explain the quick departure of her family from the Heights after her birth.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    “rough neighborhood””quick departure”
    I disagree with that theory. The heights always had a diverse population, including the affluent set. It was probably at it’s “roughest” in the early 70’s.
    I bet it was a question of needing more space.

  • TeddyNYC

    My dad was a seaman from Denmark and first came to the area in 1950 as a fresh off the boat 17-year-old. He told me that there were a lot of bars, boarding houses, brothels (didn’t ask how he knew that) and frequent fights that sometimes involved him in the area.

    It was definitely diverse, and I do agree that it could have been an issue of needing more space, just like it often is with current residents who decide to expand their families. I just think the neighborhood was less family-friendly than it is today based on what my dad and other old-timers have told me. They also seemed to miss it.

  • B.

    When I was a kid riding the Smith Street bus from Windsor Terrace to the Heights (in those days you had to walk from A&S, where the bus stopped), there was graffiti all over that long wall reading “Red Hook Boys.” All of it was Red Hook. For that matter, does anyone else remember the horse that was pastured in the field just where the northbound F train descended towards Carroll Street?

  • B.

    The Danish and Norwegian bars for seamen were located mostly near the Williamsburgh Savings Bank. I know, because a family friend took over one. I was still a kid, but we all went, and I’d never seen so many big, red beards all in one place before. Turned out that Hanson Place was the strip for a lot of them.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    I once did a film about native Brooklyn Heights residents and included Mary Tyler Moore in the film. I later found out that she was not born in the Heights but nearby. I can not remember where in Brooklyn but it definitely was not the Heights. I remember the source was credible enough that I wanted to edit my original film.


  • Joey

    We were all seaman once.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Yes the longshoreman bars and some flophouses on lower Henry St. were rough places. But I doubt that would have much impact on kids, that would not be in those places at those times…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Only Half

  • Jorale-man

    Of course, it was only 2 or 3 years ago that the Heights had a brothel, in the form of the Asian “massage parlor” by Tazza on Henry Street. It was eventually shut down but it was a fairly open secret in the area.