Power Rankings: Mary Tyler Moore Show, Part 2

22 Aug

Part 2 – Part 1 can be found by scrolling down, or by clicking here.


4.  Gavin McLeod (as Murray Slaughter) – Like Knight, McLeod’s post Mary Tyler Moore career is based around one role, but also like Knight, that role was no six episode series, but a big one, even bigger than Knight’s.  Gavin McLeod, for 9 seasons and 249 episodes, portrayed Captain Merrill Stubing on Love Boat, which lived on for years in syndication after its original run ended.  Afterwards, he showed up in guest appearances here and there, in shows like That ‘70s Show, JAG, The King of Queens and Murder She Wrote.

3.  Cloris Leachman (as Phyllis Lindstrom) -Leachman incredibly marks the third over-80 cast member to still be active.  She was one of the three characters with her own spin-off, Phyllis, which lasted two seasons, ending the same year as Mary Tyler Moore.  She appeared in an absolutely remarkable number of TV movies during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and a couple of Loveboat episodes before getting her next regular gig as Charlotte Rae’s replacement on The Facts of Life.  Unfortunately, the show didn’t have much left, and ended two seasons later.  She starred in a quickly failed series in 1989 created by Mel Brooks called The Nutt House in which she played a ridiculous hotel proprietress.  She voiced the first appearance of Mrs. Glick in The Simpsons, later to be replaced by Tress MacNeille, and her other voice work includes the English dub of Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky, and The Iron Giant.  She starred in another short-lived series in 1991 called Walter & Emily, as one of two grandparents who are in charge of their grandson, while their son, portrayed by Christopher McDonald travels for his job as a sportswriter.  Her next failed foray into the world of television was in an amazing sounding series Thanks, which ran for six episodes on CBS.  The show was set in 17th century Massachusetts and was about the everyday lives of a Puritan family.  This woman did not stop trying, though.  She next took part in Ellen Degeneres’ second sitcom, The Ellen Show, which also lasted one season.  She played a cantankerous grandmother on several episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, became the oldest contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and now costars as a grandmother in Fox’s Raising Hope.

2.  Ed Asner (as Lou Grant) – Asner spun his character off from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, a comedy, into Lou Grant, an hour long drama.  He was awarded Emmys for both – the only person to win an Emmy for both drama and comedy for the same character.  Back when miniseries were actually iconic, he won yet another Emmy for his role in Roots, as the captain who sold Kunta Kinte into slavery, and appeared as a villain in Rich Man/Poor Man.  He starred as an inner city do-gooder principal in the one season of The Bronx Zoo and as a retired race car driver in the one season of Thunder Alley (I swear these shows are real).  He had a recurring role on the short-lived Aaron Sorkin show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and on one season CMT sitcom Working Class.  He also starred in Pixar’s Up, and voiced characters in more animated series than I can name, including J. Jonah Jameson in the 1990s Spider-Man, and Hudson on Gargoyles.

1. Betty White (as Sue Ann Nivens) – who saw the giant Betty White renaissance of 2010 coming?  Not I.  There is far, far, far too much in her career to talk about even a fraction of it, but I’ll start with what I just leaned, that she got one season of her own show, aptly titled The Betty White Show, right after Mary Tyler Moore ended.  She played an actress who landed a role in a police series, Undercover Woman, which was a parody of the successful Angie Dickinson show Police Woman.  She was a game show regular in Pyramid, back in the era where game shows revolved around rotating celebrities, as she was a recurring character in Mama’s Family, spun off from a sketch on the Carol Burnett Show.  Of course, in 1985, she got the role she’s still best known for, Rose Nyland in Golden Girls, and won an Emmy for her trouble.  She then appeared in short-lived spin off Golden Palace.  She had a reoccurring role in Boston Legal as a gossipy elderly woman, and in 2010 won another Emmy for being the oldest person, by almost a decade, to host Saturday Night Live.  She now starts in TV Land series Hot in Cleveland.  The woman has had a busy life.

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One Response to “Power Rankings: Mary Tyler Moore Show, Part 2”

  1. E-Money August 22, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    Cloris Leachman only had 1 scene in Iron Giant, but you completely ignore her crucial role in Mrs. Albert Hannaday, co-starring Jack Black and Jessica Alba. She got the role when Nicole Kidman had to drop out, so they rewrote the script for her.

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