Transcript for Mary Tyler Moore's Rise to Becoming America's Sweetheart
sweetheart, celebrated tonight on ABC. Turns out her TV show got horrible reviews at first. Here's Elizabeth vargas. Reporter: Mary Tyler Moore dazzled us with her dancing. Made us keel over in laughter. You -- I usually look so much better than this. Reporter: And, like the song says, turned the whole world on with her smile. She ripped up the television comedy rule book and rewrote the chapter on women. I'm upset and you're just ignoring it. Well, I figured it was just one of those women things. No, Mr. Grant, it's not. She reaches right out through the television set. Says, you know, "I gotcha." That show was big, big deal, yeah. I think Mary Tyler Moore has probably had more influence on my career than any other single person or force. Reporter: A force we almost didn't see. The secret we never knew. The nervous TV executives. The network tested it. They hated everything. They thought I was a loser. How come I was 30 and still not married? You've got spunk. I hate spunk. Reporter: From that little girl in Brooklyn to an American sweetheart. Fans throwing their hats in the air just today in Minneapolis where her character lived. And the question, how did she want to be remembered? As somebody who always looked for the truth, even if it wasn't funny. And I hope you'll join Elizabeth vargas and me tonight at 10:00 P.M. Eastern. We'll see you then.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.