The iconic actress, who died on Wednesday at age 80, wrestled with diabetes, alcoholism and loss throughout her life. But rather than hide her demons, Moore openly talked about them in hopes she could help someone else.
In her 1996 memoir After All, Moore recounted some of her insecurities and troubles, including an honest look at her battle with alcoholism. Read on for more revelations from her autobiography.
Moore claimed she was molested by a family friend at age 6.
When the actress was a young girl, she claimed an acquaintance named Mr. Archer allegedly abuse her, but her mother refused to believe the allegation.
“I told my mother, groping for words … (The only word I knew for the entire genital area was ‘wee-wee’ for God’s sake!) My mother said, ‘No! That’s not true.’ My mother, by her denial, had abused me. My mother had abused me far more than her friend,” Moore wrote.
“The next day, I marched down the hall to 6-year-old David Archer’s apartment, feeling a wild unvented anger, and told him exactly what his father had done to me,” she continued. “On his pale small face I saw the impact I’d hoped for from my mother, felt vindicated, and a little sick at what I had done to him, too.”
She almost flashed Cary Grant the first time she met him.
“I guess I don’t handle meeting celebrities very well, at least not at the beach,” Moore said of the first time she crossed paths with the Hollywood leading man.
“One day while dozing facedown on a towel in front of my house, I was jolted awake by the unmistakable voice, directly above me, of Cary Grant,” she wrote. “It sounded like he was saying, ‘I admire your work.’ I whipped around too quickly to remember that I had unhooked the top of my bikini. I tried to say thank you while at the same time diving back down on the towel to preserve my modesty. Balanced on my stomach, while vainly trying to connect the clasp in back, I craned my head around and tried to speak. I never got more than half words out (certainly no vowels) as he backed away apologetically for having disturbed me.”
First Lady Betty Ford convinced her to return to rehab.
Moore checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in September 1984 to be treated for alcohol dependence, but didn’t last long. Feeling she was too good for the lowly tasks of cleaning and following rules, she got a taxi and headed to a hotel nearby. The following morning, the former president’s wife gave Moore a call.
“That phone call saved my life,” the TV star recalled. “I returned on my knees, pleading for reentry.”
Self-doubt and perfectionism plagued her throughout her career.
Despite playing an independent and confident woman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the actress was plagued by insecurity.
“Perhaps the biggest pretense of all was that I was having fun,” she said. “As much as I loved what I was doing, the doing of it terrified me. I was excelling at something that fed my self-doubts rather than eased them.”
Moore opened up about her face-lift surgery at age 43.
When The Mary Tyler Moore Show wrapped, it was time for the woman behind the character to “make it” in the Big Apple.
“I had never experienced any of the situations around which The Mary Tyler Moore Show had been based—an independent woman carving out a career, finding her way in a strange city, making new friends, doing exactly what I wanted. ALONE! So what if I was now 43 years old. I rented a house on East 64th Street, where I could experiment with my impression of that hard-to-beat gal Mary Richards. But first I decided to get a new face, or at least a much younger version of the one I already had.
Although Moore said the operation was without complication, she left with hospital with a face that “resembled a bruised tomato.”
“My eyes were slits, and my entire head was swathed in bandages. I’d been told what to expect, but I wasn’t prepared for the apparition that squinted back at me from the mirror. I was a gargoyle,” she wrote.
“A friend had dutifully brought along the disguise I’d planned — dark glasses, a long chiffon scarf and a wide-brimmed floppy hat, which, it turned out, didn’t come close to fitting over my bandage helmet. I thought it important to take a cab rather than one of the chauffeur-driven limos I used, for fear I’d have a driver who knew me. When the driver dropped me off, he turned around and said, ‘I hope you feel better, Miss Moore. You don’t look so good.’ ”
She shared her empathy with and respect for her fans.
“I often lament that I am the last of the Moores. … But then I remember the image of the giddy pre-teen-age girl, waiting out in front of a theater to ask for my autograph, and the page from her scrapbook that featured a tattered picture of Laura Petrie alongside an homage to the then just departed grunge-rocker Kurt Cobain. I guess that’s legacy enough for anyone.”