LOS ANGELES — Mary Tyler Moore made it after all.
The 75-year-old actress, who as Mary Richards "turned the world on with her smile" in her groundbreaking 1970s sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," received the lifetime achievement award at Sunday night's 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
"MTM. There's probably not a person in the civilized world who doesn't know what that means," said Dick Van Dyke, her former co-star in the equally appealing 1960s sit-com "The Dick Van Dyke show," who introduced her.
He noted Moore's achievements as an Oscar-nominated actress, a dancer and as an executive whose MTM Enterprises produced several other hit TV shows.
As she accepted her award, Moore revealed how the civilized world almost never did hear of MTM, who was told in the opening theme song of her show each week, "You're gonna make it after all."
When she entered show business at age 18 in 1955, Moore said, there were already six others Mary Moores in the Screen Actors Guild.
Told to change her name, she quickly added Tyler, the middle name of both her and her father, George.
"I was Mary Tyler Moore. I spoke it out loud. Mary Tyler Moore. It sounded right so I wrote it down on the form, and it looked right," she said. "It was right. SAG was happy, my father was happy, and tonight, after having the privilege of working in this business among the most creative and talented people imaginable, I too am happy, after all."
Before the awards show Van Dyke had stopped on the red carpet to remember working with Moore on his show.
"She was 23 and had never done comedy. I never saw somebody pick it up so fast. I still have a crush on her," he said.
The show's audience, including Moore's former co-star Betty White, showered both her and Van Dyke with standing ovations, leading Van Dyke to remind them, "I'm just a presenter."
Van Dyke and Moore were so believable as husband and wife Rob and Laura Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" that many viewers thought they were married in real life.
As Laura Petri, Moore also turned Capri pants into a fashion trend during the show's run.
Van Dyke noted they fit her so well, which created such a concern during that more conservative era, that she was limited to wearing them in only one scene per show.