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Mary Extraordinary

Posted July 7th, 2010 in Friendship by Glenn Plaskin

For any New Yorker who wants to catch a glimpse of the incomparable MARY TYLER MOORE, don’t miss her Times Square appearance this Saturday at Broadway Barks–the annual dog-and-cat adoptathon she co-founded in 1999 with fellow dog lover and Broadway legend Bernadette Peters.

Now in its 12th season, Broadway Barks is a star-studded event held by Broadway actors in Shubert Alley, benefiting over twenty New York animal shelters, rescue services, and adoption agencies.You won’t believe how many adorable cats and dogs will be strutting their stuff on The Great White Way, as we all have the chance to take into our hearts these abandoned animals who so desperately need a home.

The festivities will begin at 3:30 PM; celebrity presentations of pets from citywide animal shelters will take place between 5:30-6:30 PM. Among those currently scheduled to take part in the latter are Brooke Adams, Kevin Chamberlin, Katie Finneran, Montego Glover, Tony Goldwyn, Ruthie Henshall, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Beth Leavel, Judy McLane, Michael Mastro, Jan Maxwell, Tony Shalhoub, Richard Thomas and Ace Young. Proceeds from the auction and other donations received during the day will benefit the shelters and organizations attending Broadway Barks 12.

As everyone knows, Mary (the winner of 7 Emmys and 3 Golden Globes and a beloved entertainment icon beyond compare) is also a passionate animal adoption and rescue advocate, who has worked tirelessly to help all pets who desperately need a brand new start. One of her great goals is to make New York City a no-kill city and to promote adopting animals from shelters.

“According to recent statistics, we learned that we are making a difference,” Mary recently said. “In 2002, the rate of euthanasia among shelter animals was at 74% of total intake. . We are proud that as a result of our efforts, in 2008, the number of animals euthanized in NYC shelters has dropped to 33% of total intake. That means nearly 18,000 fewer animals have been euthanized in our city’s shelters compared to 2003.”

In addition, Mary, who has devoted more and more of her time to helping others, is also the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. In this role, she has used her fame to help raise funds and raise awareness of diabetes mellitus type 1.

In 2007, in honor of Moore’s dedication to the Foundation, JDRF created the “Forever Moore” research initiative which will support JDRF’s Academic Research and Development and JDRF’s Clinical Development Program. The program works on translating basic research advances into new treatments and technologies for those living with type 1 diabetes.

On a personal note, I loved meeting Mary when I first interviewed her for Family Circle–a chat in her lovely apartment overlooking Central Park, as she talked candidly about the ups and downs of life, her perspective on fame and acting, all the while, wise and warm. And a few years after that interview, she appeared in my Turning Point book, talking about how she accidentally (and fortuitously) met her husband, Dr. Robert Levine, on a night when her mother was treated by him in New York hospital.

As I reflect on all of Mary’s superlative performances on TV and in motion pictures, it occurs to me that, aside from talent and technique, one of the keys to her great success has been her huge heart and likeability–both of which draw you to her like a magnet.

And off-stage, she has been equally giving, caring for those who most need her help, including an army of grateful dogs, all with wagging tails.

Mary and her husband, Robert Levine

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