Television She-roes

Television She-roes
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The death of actress Mary Tyler Moore, whom I watched regularly during my youth, has turned my attention to women with impact on the development of television. Match the woman with her accomplishment:

____ 1. Her show in the 1970s of a single career woman inspired a generation of women who were interested in taking control of their lives.

____ 2. The first Asian American to anchor the national news on a major television network.

____ 3. A comedian who established her own Hollywood studio and produced major television hits including “Star Trek” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”.

____ 4. The first black actress to star in her own television series in 1963, “Julia.”

____ 5. This media giant has her own magazine and has been deemed the most influential woman in the world.

A. Lucille Ball

B. Diahann Carroll

C. Mary Tyler Moore

D. Connie Chung

E. Oprah Winfrey

The first woman to head a major Hollywood studio, Lucille Ball was much more than the red-headed comedian the public saw in “I Love Lucy.” After work as a model, Ball moved to Los Angeles and began working in film. After a stint in radio, she and her husband, Desi Arnaz, put together a vaudeville act that attracted a contract from CBS. “I Love Lucy” made its television debut in 1951 and was a success. Lucille Ball paved the way for sitcom stars after her including Mary Tyler Moore. The studio that she established, Desilu Productions, would produce major television hits including “Star Trek” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. The recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Ball has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

The first black actress to star in her own television series Diahann Carroll made history in 1963 with “Julia.” The many-honored Carroll received an Emmy nomination for “Julia” the first year that it aired. Her career extended to film, Broadway, other television, Las Vegas, and today she is seen in a recurring role on the USA Networks’ “White Collar.” Over the years, she has earned a Tony for the Broadway production “No Strings” and an Oscar nomination for her role in the 1974 film, “Claudine.” Carroll is a breast cancer survivor and activist.

Mary Tyler Moore’s depiction of a single career woman in her 30s in “The Mary Tyler Moore Shore”, which first aired in 1970, inspired a generation of women who were interested in taking control of their lives. The show has been described as the first modern women’s sitcom. The child of a utility worker and an alcoholic, Moore took ballet and tap dancing lessons in her youth. After starting work as a chorus dancer, she came to television fame as Laurie Petrie, the wife of Dick Van Dyke on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, which began airing in 1961 and for which she won two Emmys. Nominated for an Oscar for her role in the movie Ordinary People, she received a Screen Actors Guild lifetime award. Moore talked publicly about her struggles with alcohol and diabetes.

The first Asian American and the second woman to anchor a national newscast at a major television network, Connie Chung landed her first major scoop by interviewing President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate scandal, an exclusive sitdown discussion. After many years in Los Angeles, Chung moved to New York. In June 1993, she became the second woman (after Barbara Walters) to anchor a major television network newscast when she accepted the co-anchor slot on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. Chung has worked at CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN.

Media giant Oprah Winfrey is an actress, philanthropist, publisher and producer. She said “I think Mary Tyler Moore has had more influence on my career than any other single person or force.” Most well known for hosting an international talk show from 1986 to 2011, her many other interests include a magazine and establishing a school for girls in South Africa. She has been ranked as the richest African American and the most influential woman in the world. Winfrey has received many awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and she has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. These women associated with television are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. I am proud to tell women’s stories and to write them back into history.

(Answers 1-C, 2-D, 3-A, 4-B, 5-E)

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