During an interview on Thursday’s episode of the “Today” show, Bergen expressed her gratitude to Moore for paving the way for women to break out of society’s gender norms.
Bergen, like Moore, starred in a sitcom ― “Murphy Brown” ― with a strong female lead whose success was not defined by a man. The actress agreed that without “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and its lead character, Mary Richards, there would be no “Murphy Brown.”
“Mary Tyler Moore really opened the door for women not defined by a relationship, for women trying to have a career,” she said. “And it also opened the door for quality television, cause the writing was so exceptional and had so much depth and was character-driven. Mary was an icon unlike any other.”
Bergen stressed the importance of having role models like Mary Richards and Murphy Brown on popular TV shows, saying they provided girls with “a sense of entitlement they didn’t feel, up until then, that they had.”
“I think Mary Tyler Moore really made women feel entitled to a career and to be defined without a man,” she added.
When “Today” co-host Hoda Kotb suggested Bergen and Moore were in the “same category,” Bergen disagreed, saying Moore was in “her own stratosphere.”