List of minor characters on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
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The following is a list of minor characters regularly featured on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
- Georgette Franklin was played by Georgia Engel. Georgette was the somewhat ditzy girlfriend (and later wife) of stentorian news anchor Ted Baxter (played by Ted Knight). Mary Tyler Moore described her as a cross between Stan Laurel and Marilyn Monroe. She and Mary got along fantastically, and she helped to somewhat fill the void that Phyllis Lindstrom and Rhoda left in Mary's life when they left for San Francisco and New York City, respectively.
- She made her first appearance at one of Mary Richards' parties. She worked as a window dresser at Hempel's Department Store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, along with Rhoda Morgenstern. Later, she worked for a car rental service, as a Golden Girl, and for Rhoda selling plants.
- Georgette was devoted to Ted, and they would eventually marry in Mary Richards' apartment. They adopt a child named David (Robbie Rist), and later, she gives birth to a girl named Mary Lou, also in Mary's apartment.
- Edie Grant (née McKenzie) (Priscilla Morrill) was the wife of Lou Grant. She and Lou had been married for many years and had children, but in the 1971 episode "The Boss Isn't coming to Dinner", marital difficulties lead to Lou and Edie separating. Though they reunite by the end of the episode, they again separate during The Mary Tyler Moore Show's third season, with the marriage ending soon thereafter. In a later season, Edie was remarried to Howard Gordon, and asked Lou and Mary to attend her wedding. Lou held his peace and they parted friends. Even when Lou lived in Los Angeles, he and Edie kept in touch, because their grown daughters remained a common bond between them. In the Lou Grant series, Edie was revealed to be Roman Catholic and of Ukrainian heritage.
- Gordon Howard, better known as Gordy, was played by actor John Amos. Gordy was the weather reporter on the nightly WJM-TV newscast. Affable, intelligent and professional, Gordy was the polar opposite of Ted. In 1973, Gordy left WJM, and eventually got a job as host of a talk show in New York City. Ted thought this would be a great chance for him to become a national name, and wheedled Gordy to allow him to join him; but Gordy, although his friend, was also wise to his ways, and gently told him no. After that, Gordy returned to New York and reaped success.
- The producers introduced Gordy as a weatherman because at the time they felt very few weathermen at the time were black. The original intention had been to make him a sportscaster, but they felt a weatherman would be funny. In several early episodes the character of Gordy remarks, "Why does everyone think I'm the sportscaster?" Amos left the show to do Good Times, but after being fired from Good Times in 1976 he returned for one last guest spot as Gordy in 1977.
- Bess Lindstrom was portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Phyllis by actress Lisa Gerritsen. Bess is the daughter and only child of Phyllis Lindstrom and her late husband, Lars. Bess helped her mother decorate the new apartment that Mary Richards moved into. She bonded well with Rhoda Morgenstern, to her mother's horror, calling her "Aunt Rhoda" (to which her mother invariably replied, "She's not your aunt"). She also bonded with Mary, who was an old friend of her mother's. She only referred to Phyllis by her first name rather than with a motherly endearment.
- Bess was more prominently featured on the spin-off show, Phyllis. By this time, Bess was in high school. She and her mother moved to her mother's hometown, San Francisco, after her father died. While Bess's step great-grandmother "Mother Dexter" despised Phyllis, she got along beautifully with Bess. Near the end of the series, Bess married Mark Valenti (Craig Wasson), the nephew of Phyllis' boss, City Supervisor, Carmen Valenti, and were expecting a baby.
- Florence Meredith, best known as Aunt Flo (actually a distant older cousin of Mary Richards), was played on a recurring basis by actress Eileen Heckart. She was a straight-shooting newspaper columnist, who has won over sixteen journalism awards. She made infrequent visits to Minneapolis and also battled Mary's boss, Lou Grant. Although, they clashed, there was a spark between them and they had a brief fling. Flo later made an appearance on Lou Grant, covering the same political campaign as Tribune reporter Billie Newman.
- Martin and Ida Morgenstern were portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda by veteran actors Harold Gould and Nancy Walker, respectively. They were the parents of Rhoda Morgenstern. Ida was portrayed as a stereotypical overbearing Jewish mother, whereas Martin was somewhat calmer and more even-keeled. While Rhoda was living in Minneapolis, Ida occasionally visited. When Rhoda moved back to New York, she initially stayed with her mother in the Bronx. During the run of Rhoda, Martin and Ida separated while Martin went off to find himself and pursue a long-shelved dream of becoming a lounge singer. Toward the end of Rhoda's run, Martin had returned and was attempting to win Ida back, though this remained unresolved when the series ended.
- Dottie and Walter Richards are Mary's parents. Dottie was played by veteran actress Nanette Fabray and Walter was played by Bill Quinn. Their first appearance was in 1972, two years after Mary had left her fiancé and moved to Minneapolis. Her parents moved to Minneapolis to be near Mary, though Mary and her mother, in particular, had a bit of trouble learning to relate to one-another, now that Mary was an adult. That season they made a handful of appearances on the series, before disappearing without explanation.
- Marie Slaughter was played by actress Joyce Bulifant. Marie was the wife of news writer, Murray Slaughter, and a homemaker. She and Murray had three daughters; they adopted a Vietnamese son toward the end of the series.
- Joe Warner was played by actor Ted Bessell. He became Mary's boyfriend during season 6, appearing in two episodes. Prior to appearing on the Mary Tyler Moore show, he was best known for having played Marlo Thomas' boyfriend in the sitcom That Girl.
- Bill, Mary's ex-boyfriend. A doctor, whom Mary dated throughout his med school and residency, after which, he broke things off with her. He appeared only in the pilot, in which he attempted to try to reestablish their relationship, and was played by Angus Duncan.
- Howard and Paul Arnell, brothers both of whom were played by actor Richard Schaal. Howard appeared in several Season One episodes as an old boyfriend of Mary's. She broke up with him because of his obsession with her, and his overbearing nature. He appeared at Mary's high school reunion, and also attended an impromptu cocktail party Mary and Rhoda hosted. Mary also briefly dated Howard's much more low-key brother Paul, whose company she enjoyed a bit more, but his parents (Mary Jackson and Henry Jones) seemed to favor Howard, and felt that Mary was being disloyal to him by dating Paul.
- Andy Rivers was played by actor John Gabriel. Andy was WJM's sports reporter, and was hired by Mary. He appeared in five episodes in Seasons 4 and 5. He occasionally dated Mary.
- Dan Whitfield was played by actor Michael Tolan. Dan taught an evening journalism class that Mary and Rhoda enrolled in. He occasionally dated Mary.
- Charlene McGuire, a lounge singer who occasionally dated Lou Grant. Charlene was played by Sheree North, and in one episode by Janis Paige.
- Pete was played by actor and cameraman J. Benjamin Chulay A.C.E. (actor). Pete was the blond-haired fellow in the background on certain episodes. He had small speaking appearances in two episodes in 1973 - 1974.
- "She Even Gets Laughs on Her Straight Lines", TV Guide, Dec. 1973.
- Armstrong, Jennifer Keishin (2013-05-07). Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And all the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic. Simon and Schuster. pp. 73–. ISBN 9781451659238. Retrieved 10 September 2014.