Mary Tyler Moore's Co-Stars and Collaborators Reminisce About the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree

3:08 PM PST 01/29/2012 by Lesley Goldberg , Marisa Guthrie, Noela Hueso
CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Betty White, Ed Asner, Cloris Leachman and more recall working with the star of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Oh, Mare! Friends and collaborators of SAG's 48th Life Achievement Award honoree recall working with the star of two classic sitcoms.

Ed Asner
Co-star,  The Mary Tyler Moore Show

"I learned from her by osmosis all the time. She gesticulated more than I did. She was tremendously generous. She never resorted to backbiting, never a complaint, never an untoward word. She accepted the facts and foibles of everybody and left it to others to straighten out those who needed to fly right. She was inordinately prompt. All of us had tremendous stage experience. She probably had less. But she was a workaholic."

Cloris Leachman
Co-star, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

"I always think in terms of different ways to do things -- not how you're supposed to do it but what would be a good, different way to do it. It takes more time to do that, and then you have to be able to do it with the camera. One time I said to Mary, 'You're so sweet to us, we have to remember you're the star because we take so much time.' She said, 'I just wait for you to figure it all out, then you make a nice little path and I just dance down it.' "

Betty White
Co-star, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

"Mary and I have been very close friends for many years. I almost didn't get the part of Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They wanted 'a sickeningly sweet Betty White type' to play the part, and the casting director said, 'Well, why don't you just get Betty White?' The producers said, 'Oh, no, we can't because Betty and Mary are best friends and if it didn't work out, that might make it awkward for Mary.' Well, I guess they couldn't find anyone sickeningly sweet enough because they finally came back to me and said, 'Would you do it?' It was such fun working with her. Mary has a way, even with one line or one word she can just take a scene. She's such a pro -- and her manners are impeccable."

Carl Reiner
Creator, The Dick Van Dyke Show

"I've said it before and it bears repeating -- not one but two TV shows owe a debt of gratitude to Mary and her extraordinary talents: The Dick Van Dyke Show being one and The Mary Tyler Moore Show the other. She can do it all: act, sing, dance and melt the hardest of hearts."

Dick Van Dyke
Co-star, The Dick Van Dyke Show

"I remember there was one week where she was trying to quit smoking, and she just lost it and had to go out and smoke. I watched her try to quit, and after about five days she was getting paler and almost turning gray. She was having terrible withdrawals. She got upset at something totally innocuous, and ordinarily it wouldn't even have affected her.  She was never that way; she was always such a pleasure. We were all trying to support her -- I was even trying to quit at the same time. Everybody said, 'Mary, would you please go outside and smoke a cigarette?' She finally went out -- and I went with her. She was so relieved. Very shortly after that, she finally did get off them, but did she ever have a hard time."

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