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Change of Habit

1969's "Change of Habit" marked the last of Elvis's 31 feature films. In it, he plays Dr. John Carpenter - a doctor in a ghetto area. Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara McNair, and Jane Elliot appear as nuns who come to the ghetto in plain clothes to get practical experience before taking their final vows. Dr. Carpenter is very attracted to one of the ladies (Mary Tyler Moore) and cannot understand why she is unable to return his affection. As the three "undercover" nuns cope with the the troubles of the world of the ghetto, they nevertheless begin to feel a part of the world outside the convent - so their Mother Superior orders them back. Dr. Carpenter, in anguish, angrily asks why Sister Michelle has allowed him to fall in love with him. The end of the movie leaves us to wonder whether she will make her vows to the church or to the handsome doctor.

Mary Tyler Moore

"Sister Michelle"

Mary Tyler Moore was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 29, 1936. Her family relocated to Southern California,which gave the trained dancer more career opportunities. While still in high school she started performing professionally, both on stage and in commercials. Her first break came in 1955, when she became the Happy Hotpoint of commercials. After that she had small roles on the TV series Bachelor Father and Steve Canyon,(1958). Her first regular role was on the show Richard Diamond, Private Detective, although only her legs were seen. For three months she played the secretary whose voice you heard and whose legs you saw, but nothing else. Desiring to be more visible, Mary went on to do more guest spots on shows such as Hawaiian Eye and 77 Sunset Strip. Then in the early sixties as producer Carl Reiner was searching for just the right to play his wife on his upcoming sitcom . Someone happened to remember the LEGS on the Richard Diamond program. All that could be remembered about the girl was that she had three parts to her name ~ and a lovely voice. Finally, Mary was found, and she won the role over 60 other actresses being considered. As the show's plans progressed, Reiner realized that he himself was not the ideal choice to play Rob Petrie. Dick Van Dyke was given the role and telvision history was made. Rob and Laura were the quintessential ideal couple - loving, talented, and realistic. Mary also made a fashion breakthrough over other TV moms/housewives: maintaining that real homemakers did not wear the "dresses and pearls" of June Cleaver and Donna Stone, Mary managed to make frequent appearances in capri pants. The TV censors were leary of the modesty of the tight -fitting garment and only allowed her to appear in them in one scene per episode. The very popular actress won two Emmy Awards for her role as Laura Petrie.
After the show ended, Mary appeared in the semi-successful Julie Andrews film, Thoroughly Modern Millie and in Elvis Presley"s final feature film,Change of Habit.

In 1969, Moore reunited with Dick Van Dyke for a variety special entitled "Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman". CBS was renewed its interest in her as a television star and gave her unconditional authority to develop any project -which became "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (1970-77), for which she received four Emmy Awards. In the 80s, she costarred in films, Ordinary Peoplewith Donald Sutherland, and Six Weeks with Dudley Moore.

Mary's private life was not as idyllic as her television personna, unfortunately. Her first marriage to Richard Meeker failed after six years, although it produced a son, Richie. From 1962 until 1981, she was married to television mogel, Grant Tinker, who was executive producer of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". Tragically, in 1980, son Richie was ally killed in a gun . Four years later, the actress surprised and impressed fans when she admitted a drinking problem and entered the Betty Ford Clinic. Part of her cure, however, had come in the form of Dr. Robert Levine, whom she had met when her mother had been hospitalized. The physician had left his phone number with the actress and told her that if she ever needed him, to call. Mary did just that and the two fell in love,marrying on November 23, 1983. In the ensuing years, Mary Tyler Moore has written a successful autobiography, After All, published in 1996, and become an active spokesperson for Juvenile Diabetes, of which she is a sufferer.

Moore most recently appeared in the TV movie Mary and Rhoda, which was an update of her character Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her friend Rhoda Morgenstern.

Barbara McNair

"Sister Irene Hawkins"

Barbara McNair was born in Racine,Wisconsin on March 4, 1934. Barbara's musical talent was evident from her early school years. Following the advice of some of her teachers, Barbara's parents decided their daughter should pursue a formal music-training program. Starting her training at the Racine Conservatory of Music, the talented young lady was then advised to move to the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. After graduation, she attended UCLA for a one-year period, but decided herself that experience was the best teacher. Barbara headed for New York.

While moonlighting as a secretary, Barbara started going out to auditions at a variety of New York nightclubs. Her persistence paid off when Max Gordon of the Village Vanguard offered her a job. This was followed by a week's stint on THE ARTHUR GODFREY SHOW and she began receiving fan mail by the scores. THE PURPLE ONION in New York proved to be the turning point in her career for her so she swept the then part-time secretarial job out the door. From there she began her road to "headliner" in many of the country five most prestigious nightclubs: THE PERSIAN ROOM at New York's PLAZA HOTEL, THE COCONUT GROVE in Los Angeles, and most of the major hotels in Las Vegas.

In 1963, Barbara made her screen debut in the Henry Fonda / Maureen O'Hara film, Spencer's Mountain, in which she showcased her voice as a graduation singer.She went on to appear in other movies and some television shows, such as "I Spy" , "Mission Impossible"and "McMillan and Wife". In 1969, she played Sister Irene Hawkins in Change of Habit, Elvis Presley's last feature film. That same year, McNair premiered her own television show, "The Barbara McNair Show". The variety program ran from 1969 until 1971.


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