The Everett Collection

The Love Boat's Lauren Tewes was said to be the next Mary Tyler Moore

Lauren Tewes is best known for her role as cruise director Julie McCoy on The Love Boat. In the late '70s, the show's success wasn't the only thing Tewes had going for her career. She was also said to be the next Mary Tyler Moore.

That's a big name to live up to, especially as a young actress in Hollywood. 

In a 1978 interview with The Evening Sun, Love Boat co-producer Douglas S. Cramer admitted that he was looking to fill the role with "a young Mary Tyler Moore."

Mary Tyler Moore portrayed an unmarried TV producer while on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, while Tewes portrayed an unmarried female cruise director. The two actresses had enough similarities both on and off screen that people started to take notice.

According to Tewes, being compared to Mary Tyler Moore was an honor, but it didn't happen overnight. Tewes said when she got her start in acting, most producers wouldn't even remember her last name.

"I'm a serious actress, and I intend to stay in this business until I'm 80," she said. "You don't have to be a sex symbol, a marvelous tennis player or a fine singer to succeed. I know that for a fact, because I am a flop at all those things."

Even with her MTM praise, Tewes still didn't have the world conviced she'd be the next version of her, in fact Tewes herself didn't believe it either. 

In a 1977 interview with The Columbia Record, Tewes gave a compliment to Moore.

"Mary is terrific," she said. "She's a very relatable woman to female viewers. I like her style and admire her work. It's nice to be compared to her, but I want to be me. Mary's practically the queen of television. Maybe I could be in the princess."

The two stars both represented what it meant to work hard in the entertainment industry. Tewes worked as a waitress at a restaurant on the Sunset Strip before moving on to her first real acting job, a U.S. Navy recruiting film.

"I checked it out, and all the cruise directors on ships are men," she said. "But there isn't any reason why a girl can't hold down a job like that."

At the time of this interview in '77, Tewes and Moore had not met yet. Their love for acting was their deepest connection, and we can only hope their paths eventually crossed.

"The exciting thing about my role is that I'm not just a pretty girl hanging around for atmosphere," she said. "I'm not here for sexuality. What I'm going through now is called the greatest thing that could happen to a person and I know it!"

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