Dick Van Dyke says Mary Tyler Moore asked him personally to be the one to present her with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 48th Screen Actors Guild Award ceremony, which took place on Sunday, January 29.
"She called me and asked me to do it," the 86-year-old actor told OnTheRedCarpet.com at the event, calling Moore "one of the most talented" and "one of the nicest" actresses.
"I think over the years she's felt that love a lot," he said. "Everybody loves Mary."
Moore and Van Dyke played a husband and wife on the 1960s series "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Van Dyke, who is also known for his roles in films such as "Mary Poppins," received a standing ovation himself even before he introduced Moore at the ceremony.
"I'm just the presenter!" Van Dyke said. "Hi everybody, I'm what's left of Dick Van Dyke."
Moore, 75, recalled during her speech how she first began her acting career.
"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, 86, said at the ceremony.
She said when she pursued acting, she found out there were six other Mary Moores registered with the Screen Actors Guild.
"Word came back, 'Want to work in the business? Change your name, Sweetheart,'" she said. "Change my name? Oh come on, no. I'm Mary. Mary Moore. Everybody's going to know my name. I can't change my name. Besides, what would my father say? I mean, It's his name, too. Oh well, not, 'Mary.' Come on, no. 'Moore.' George Tyler Moore. That was my father's name."
"But then it hit me - Tyler was my middle name, too," she said. "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. SAG was happy, my father was happy and tonight, after having the privilege of working in this business among the most creative and talentedp eople imaginable, I, too, am happy after all."
Moore has received seven Emmy Awards and a Tony Award and was nominated for one Academy Award over the course of her career. Moore is also known for her title role the "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," which aired between 1970 and 1977. She played Mary Richards, a local news producer in Minneapolis.
After "Mary Tyler Moore" ended, Moore went on to star in shows such as "The Naked Truth," "That '70s Show" and "Lipstick Jungle." She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the 1980 Robert Redford-helmed film, "Ordinary People."
Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 33 and starring in "The Mary Tyler Moore" show and depends on insulin injections to live. She has long been the spokesperson for the group Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and detailed her struggle with the autoimmune disease in her book "Growing up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes."
In May 2011, the actress underwent surgery to remove a benign tumor on the lining of her brain.
Last year, Moore reunited with her former "Mary Tyler Moore" co-star Betty White on the second season premiere of the comedy series "Hot in Cleveland" after more than 33 years.
She also helped White celebrate her 90th birthday and received a standing ovation when she appeared on NBC's special, "Betty White's 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America's Golden Girl," which aired on January 16.
Reporting by George Pennachio of KABC Television, which produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).