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A TV Classic Returns

It's been nearly 40 years since Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore made America laugh in the roles of Rob and Laura Petrie on the television classic "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Many regarded the Emmy Award-winning series, which ran for five seasons and 158 episodes, as the prototype for the modern sitcom.

On Tuesday night, many of the original stars are reuniting for a brand new episode, "The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited."

"What Carl Reiner did in putting this retrospective together is unusual," Moore tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm. "I don't think it's been done. Instead of having the actors sit around and talk about the characters they played, this is the characters themselves now."

Four decades later, Moore says, the Petries have moved to Manhattan where Laura teaches ballet and Rob is semi-retired, working on his computer.

It was Reiner's writing which distinguished this show. Moore says. "I think tonight's episode can be just as important as it might enlighten the writers of today to look at that show and look at the wonderful thought and care and laughter that resulted from not just jokes, but from character involvement."

So why did it come to an end?

Moore says, "There were no real expectations for how long a series would last, and it was certainly at the top of its form. But everybody was being made offers to go to Broadway or to do movies and what have you."

She went to do the last of Elvis' movie, "Change of Habit," and then "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

Moore notes, "Everything I brought to the 'Mary' show I had learned on the 'Dick' show, and from Carl. Surround yourself with the best and you can't help but be even better than you probably are or wish you were."

Reiner still remains a very important person in her life, Moore says. "He gave me my first break. And even more than that stuff is the human being that he was and is. He is a right-up-front kind of person: If you have got something on your mind, don't hide it. Tell me about it. Let's talk about it and get it into the open."

Some Facts About Mary Tyler Moore

  • Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Dec. 29, 1936.
  • Grew up in Southern California
  • Before graduating from high school, Moore danced on stage and in commercials, most notably for Hotpoint appliances.
  • By 1958, Moore was landing small roles on such television shows as "Bachelor Father" and "Steve Canyon."
  • In 1959, Moore was cast in her first regular part on the series "Richard Diamond, Private Detective."
  • In 1961, Moore became a star as Laura Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show," a role that earned her two Emmy Awards.
  • In 1969, Moore reunited with Dick Van Dyke for a variety special entitled "Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman."
  • From 1970 to 1977, Moore starred in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"; Moore earned four more Emmy Awards.
  • In 1978, Moore appeared in a one-hour variety show entitled "Mary"; the actress earned an Emmy nomination for her role in the television movie "First, You Cry."
  • In the 1980s, Moore starred in "Mary" and then "Annie McGuire," both of which lasted a single season; Moore earned a special Tony Award for her role in the Broadway production of "Whose Life Is It Anyway?"; and she revealed the true power of her dramatic ability in Robert Redford's motion picture "Ordinary People," which helped her earn a Best Actress Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award.
  • In 1993, Moore received her seventh Emmy Award for her role in Lifetime's original production "Stolen Babies."
  • Moore is the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and has been elected to the board of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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