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01/26/2017 06:34 am ET Updated Jan 26, 2017

Michelle Obama Praised Mary Tyler Moore's Influence Before Her Death

"Building your career is another really viable option that can lead to happiness and fulfillment."

Former first lady Michelle Obama knows a role model when she sees one.

Months before Mary Tyler Moore died Wednesday at the age of 80, Obama talked about the influence the Emmy-winning actress had on her as a little girl.

Mary Richards, Moore’s unmarried, career-driven character on the beloved 1970s sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” showed Obama that she had choices.

She was one of the few single working women depicted on television at the time,” Obama told Variety in an August interview pointed out by Entertainment Weekly. “She wasn’t married. She wasn’t looking to get married. At no point did the series end in a happy ending with her finding a husband — which seemed to be the course you had to take as a woman. But she sort of bucked that. She worked in a newsroom, she had a tough boss and she stood up to him. She had close friends, never bemoaning the fact that she was a single. She was very proud and comfortable in that role.

“I was probably 10 or 11 when I saw that, and sort of started thinking, ‘You know what? Marriage is an option. Having a family is an option. And going to school and getting your education and building your career is another really viable option that can lead to happiness and fulfillment.”

Michelle Obama says Mary Tyler Moore's character inspired her to recognize she would have options beyond what was traditional
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Michelle Obama says Mary Tyler Moore's character inspired her to recognize she would have options beyond what was traditional at the time.

 

h/t People

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