Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), a single native Minnesotan moves to Minneapolis in 1970 at age 30 and becomes Associate Producer of WJM-TV's Six O'clock News. Her sincere, kind demeanor often acts as a foil for the personalities of her co-workers and friends.
Mary Richards, portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore, is the main character of the television sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary Richards, born in Roseburg, Minnesota in April of 1939, is the daughter of Walter and Dottie Richards. Prior to relocating to Minneapolis, she was engaged to a medical student named Bill who left her after breaking off their engagement.
After arriving in Minneapolis, Mary leases an apartment in a house from her friend, Phyllis Lindstrom. Also leasing an attic loft from Phyllis is Rhoda Morgenstern, with whom Mary becomes fast friends. Mary also bonds with Phyllis's precocious daughter, Bess.
Mary applies for a secretarial job at television station WJM-TV, the area's lowest rated station. After meeting with news producer Lou Grant, she is informed that the position has been filled but she is hired as an Associate Producer. Later, Mary is promoted to News Producer when Lou becomes the station's news director. While at WJM, she quickly becomes friends with news writer Murray Slaughter and the vain (and incompetent) news anchor, Ted Baxter. Within the office, Mary is often the voice of reason. Lou, who is always referred to by Mary as "Mr. Grant", later develops an adoration and almost-fatherly relationship with Mary.
Other friends of Mary's include Sue Ann Nivens, host of The Happy Homemaker at WJM, and Georgette Franklin, who later marries Ted.
In the final episode of the series, the entire newsroom staff lose their jobs in an effort to boost sagging ratings. Ted, ironically, keeps his job, despite being the primary cause for the low ratings.
Mary Richards makes several guest appearances on the spinoffs Rhoda and Phyllis via visits to New York or San Francisco, respectively, or in scenes via telephone. In the opening scene to the pilot of Rhoda, Mary Richards accompanies Rhoda to the Minneapolis airport to see her off, but this scene was not shown in U.S. syndication, nor in the DVD release of Rhoda.
As revealed in the 2000 made-for-television movie Mary and Rhoda, Mary later marries a congressman named Steven Cronin with whom she has a daughter, Rose. After her husband's death in a rock climbing accident, Mary discovers that her husband squandered their money in his reelection campaigns. She relocates to New York City, reconnects with her best friend Rhoda, and is hired at a network program.