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There's a sentimental reason why Mary Tyler Moore used her full name in Hollywood

Image: The Everett Collection

It's hard to imagine saying Mary Tyler Moore's name any other way. It has been so ingrained into our culture that you can't help but almost sing her name when discussing her career, or her books, or her many awards and recognitions. Her name is one that will live on in history.

What goes into making such a name for oneself? 

In 2012, Moore was honored with a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement award. During the acceptance speech, Moore shared a touching story about her start in the industry. As we all know, Moore made her first appearance on television as Happy Hotpoint, the tiny dancing elf that sold Hotpoint appliances in TV commercials.

Prior to landing this job, Moore had to figure out how to introduce herself in the industry. This meant filing her name with SAG in the hopes of being accepted into their ranks, not an easy feat for someone new to the biz.

"In 1955, I was 18 years old, determined to make my father proud, and prove to the sisters at Immaculate Heart High School that I would indeed amount to something," Moore shared with an enraptured audience.

"So, I sought out the Screen Actors Guild in hopes of becoming a member, but there was a small problem; it seems there were six other Mary Moores on the SAG pages."

This is when she received her first critique.

"Word came back: 'Wanna work in the business? Change your name, sweetheart.' Change my name? Come on, no. I’m Mary. Mary Moore. Everybody is going to know my name. I can’t change my name," she continued. Besides, what would my father say? I mean, it’s his name, too."

Moore reflected on her father's name – George Tyler Moore.

"[T]hen it hit me," she mused. "'Tyler' was my name too. I was Mary Tyler Moore. I spoke it out loud. 'Mary Tyler Moore' sounded right, so I wrote it down on the form, and it looked right. It was right."

At the time, Moore simply wanted to get her SAG application accepted. Little did she know that it would become one of the most well-recognized names in television. 

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