I was half watching the SAG awards while half reading a book, so I could catch Mary Tyler Moore get the Life Achievement Award - with Dick Van Dyke appropriately presenting. Although a bit awkward, he looked pretty damn good. But then the intro film… sadly uninspiring. Quite the opposite of the shining light Mary Tyler Moore was in her day. And unfortunately her speech too, the same. She has battled diabetes for years and it clearly has taken a toll on her health. Betty White, about 20 years her senior, seems far more alert and vivacious.
Growing up, Mary Tyler Moore loomed large. We absolutely loved her, loved her show and the spin-offs it spawned - Rhoda, Phyllis, and loved catching the black & white reruns of the Dick Van Dyke Show when staying home sick from school. But she was more than a TV star, she was a ground breaker. Marlo Thomas in That Girl was the first woman to live on her own in the big city. But in Mary Tyler Moore, we saw a real working woman, at her office. It's amazing how big of a deal that was 40 years ago - but it really was. She captured the zeitgeist of the times.
Watching her tonight, seeming somewhat confused and shaky was quite sad to see. I realize that is the reality of aging, but I still find it a bit heartbreaking. Watching the passing years take hold is difficult to see even with people we know and love, whose aging process we see in real time with each passing day. (Like looking in the mirror every morning.. ) But even harder to see, and maybe accept, when it's someone you haven't caught sight of for many years, and when the image etched in your mind is of them from a much earlier time.
The SAG awards tend to be a fairly boring affair. And the main event of this night is actually Downton Abbey and The Good Wife. But I really was hoping for, and expecting, a little sparkle from this crowd honoring Mary Tyler Moore - a woman who I'm certain was a tremendous inspiration for many of the women in that audience tonight. Was sad that didn't happen..