The Lady from the ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Opening: Found!

No, she isn't still alive, but yes, there is information on the puzzled-looking lady from the Mary Tyler Moore (1970-1977) series opening credits!

Hazel, baffled, and Mary, ecstatic (Image via video still)

Thanks to an ICYMI post by Kenneth in the (212), I discoverd the woman's name was Hazel Frederick (1908-1999), and she even got to meet Moore in the late '90s, years after she found herself immortalized as the TV legend tossed her hat in the air.

According to a vintage The Minneapolis Star-Tribune piece, Frederick looked surprised in the opening because she well and truly was.

"I didn't even know what was going on," she told the paper when she and Moore met up in the mid-'90s. "I just walked up to this crowd and this woman threw her hat up in the air. I guess I just got in the way."

Moore graciously brought Frederick onstage at a booksigning when they were finally introduced, telling the crowd she had been her opening-credits co-star! Frederick died not long after, in 1999, in her nineties.

Before her passing in 2017, Moore recalled the opening was shot by a special director on an especially cold winter's day. "It was so cold lips weren't moving," she recalled. "You couldn't form words.

It was the titles director who came up with the idea, which nobody dreamed would be iconic. "You know what would be a good idea, Mary?" Moore remembered him saying. "Go out in the middle of the intersection and take that tam off and throw it in the air." She couldn't protest because she couldn't form the words.

As for the hat, which would be Smithsonian-bait, Moore always said it was her own, a gift from her beloved aunt, but that it had been stolen.

Wonder where it is today?

Hat's all, folks! (GIF via GIPHY)

7 Responses

  1. I have always enjoyed that shot of the hat in the air and the expression on that lady’s face. Epic

  2. Until the 1990s I had always thought she was an extra like the non-speaking diners in Seinfeld.

  3. Jen

    She always made me think of my grandma. Still does all these years later.

  4. So who were the background actors that were always in the newsroom? They were also the same background actors at Mary’s parties. It seemed it was always the same group of actors.

  5. That’s so Kool about the lady.

  6. Eme

    Many thanks to Raza Badiyi who came up with the iconic photo of Mary throwing her hat in the air. He said in an interview on Youtube, he thought of graduates who throw their hats up in the air as they venture onto a new life. And that is how he saw it for Mary, she relocated and is starting a new career. I think his photography was very well done, the winter scenes and capturing the crowds, the cars and everything that was in the 70’s. So I think he did a stellar job filming.

    • Did Miss Hazel Frederick get paid for being in the opening of the Mary Tyler Moore Show every week for the years the show was on the air? I hope she did, as extras did get paid. And she is iconic!

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