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Watch Mary Tyler Moore explain the touching meaning behind her name

Moore, who portrayed TV's earliest liberated woman, used her full name throughout her career to make a beloved family member proud.
/ Source: TODAY

Mary Tyler Moore, the legendary TV and film star who died Wednesday at age 80, chose to use her full name throughout her Hollywood career to make a very special family member proud.

The Emmy-winning actress, who played single working woman Mary Richards on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," opted to keep the "Tyler" in her name as a sweet tribute to her father, George Tyler Moore.

Moore revealed the touching story when she accepted the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award in 2012.

"In 1955, I was 18 years old, determined to make my father proud, and prove to the sisters at Immaculate Heart High School that I would indeed amount to something," Moore revealed.

'So, I sought out the Screen Actors Guild in hopes of becoming a member, but there was a small problem; it seems there were six other Mary Moores on the SAG pages,” she explained.

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“Word came back: ‘Wanna work in the business? Change your name, sweetheart.’ Change my name? Come on, no. I’m Mary. Mary Moore. Everybody is going to know my name. I can’t change my name," she continued. "Besides, what would my father say? I mean, it’s his name, too.”

THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, Mary Tyler Moore, 1970-77
Moore revealed that she chose to use her full name in Hollywood to make her father proud.Everett Collection

But then, she said, "it hit me." Rather than change her name, she could simply include her middle name, Tyler — the name she shared with her dad.

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"I was Mary Tyler Moore. I spoke it out loud. ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ sounded right, so I wrote it down on the form, and it looked right. It was right,” she said.

The now-iconic name satisfied the Screen Actors Guild, and best of all, said Moore, "my father was happy."

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