Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Endeavor Content are producing the upcoming documentary “Being Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Documentary.” James Adolphus (“Soul of a Nation”) will direct, and the doc — Hillman Grad’s first documentary project from its inception — will be released in 2022.
Endeavor Content bought the rights from the Mary Tyler Moore estate for Hillman Grad, and will finance “Being Mary,” as well as handling its worldwide sales. Debra Martin Chase of Martin Chase Productions, Andrew Coles of The Mission, Rishi Rajani of Hillman Grad Productions, and Adolphus and Ben Selkow of Good Trouble Studios are also producers. Moore’s husband, Dr. S. Robert Levine, is executive producing.
“Being Mary” is the first authorized biography of the iconic actor and producer, who died at the age of 80 in 2017. Moore starred on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” from 1961 to 1966, and then broke the mold for seven seasons on her “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which revolutionized how single, working women were portrayed in popular culture. With her then-husband Grant Tinker, Moore started MTM Enterprises, the production company not only behind “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spinoffs, but “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Hillstreet Blues,” “St. Elsewhere” and many more.
Moore also appeared on Broadway and in movies; she was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of a cold, unforgiving mother in 1980’s “Ordinary People,” and was also delightfully featured in 1996’s “Flirting With Disaster,” among many other film roles. Moore also wrote about her alcoholism and struggle with diabetes in her two memoirs.
“Being Mary” will tell Moore’s story through “unprecedented access to her life and estate, loved ones, colleagues, and friends,” according to the project’s announcement.
“Mary Tyler Moore is an icon, mystery and an inspiration,” said Waithe on behalf of Hillman Grad Productions. “With the help of her loving husband, Robert, and her friends and colleagues we hope to reveal that America’s sweetheart was more human than they ever imagined and was often put on a pedestal she never felt comfortable standing on.”
“In her high school yearbook, Mary wrote: ‘The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms’…and Mary always sought to surround herself with the best. To have extraordinary and purposeful talents like Lena and James tell Mary’s story honors her in a way I know she would have treasured,” said Dr. Levine.
“We love Mary for embodying the modern woman on television and defining a vision of womanhood that continues to inspire generations of Americans. In ‘Being Mary,’ we honor that legacy by sharing her brilliant and nuanced life story. To have Lena and Robert’s support in this endeavor is both humbling and an honor,” said Adolphus.
Waithe is represented by WME, and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano and ID.
Adolphus and Selkow are represented by by WME and Sloss, Eckhouse, Dasti, Haynes LawCo.
Chase is repped by CAA and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano and The Collins Jackson Agency PR.