When Mary Tyler Moore helped save the Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia

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Back in 1991, the Pennsylvania Ballet was facing financial trouble. The Company was broke. (AP Photo/George Widman)

Back in 1991, the Pennsylvania Ballet was facing financial trouble. The Company was broke.

The cast and crew were working for free. The Company was just weeks from closing down.

A new Artistic Director was brought in to change the ballet's outlook.

A "Save-the-Ballet" $1-million fundraising campaign was started to help keep the Company in business.

That's when a famous face came to Philadelphia to support the cause - Mary Tyler Moore.

The renowned TV star, who passed away Wednesday at age 80, was a very close friend of Jacques and Carrie D'Amboise - whose son Christopher had recently taken over as the new Artistic Director.

"Mary Tyler Moore championed Pennsylvania Ballet during our "Save-the- Ballet" campaign that kept the company in existence during a financial crisis," Pennsylvania Ballet told Action News in a statement.



Moore made a public pitch for funds before a performance of "Bravo! Balanchine" at the Shubert Theatre, now known as the Merriam Theater.

"When [Christopher] told me that the ballet dancers, the musicians, the people in the ticket office, the ushers had agreed to work for no salary, I was so moved by that. I come from a real tough, hard city that doesn't make those kinds of concessions, and I was mightily impressed," Moore said at the time.

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Mary Tyler Moore speaks to save the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1991.



Moore was born in Brooklyn in 1936. When she was around 8 years old, her family moved to California.

She took dance lessons as a child and launched her career by appearing in TV commercials as a teenager.

The fundraising efforts were a success. The Pennsylvania Ballet continued to dance on.

According to the Company's website:

"In March 1991, the community responded and a volunteer group composed of dancers, musicians, theater staff, and others started a grassroots campaign called "Save The Ballet". By the end of the month, the campaign had raised over a million dollars in donations."

"Pennsylvania Ballet will always be indebted to Ms. Moore for her support in the 1990s. She was a pioneering entertainer, who in her own words remained a dancer at heart, and we are saddened by her passing," the Pennsylvania Ballet said.

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