The former ET anchor is returning to the show stage on Thursday night to help kick off ET’s 35th anniversary celebration.
In honor of her 29-year run as an anchor who helped define and revolutionize entertainment news 35 years ago, ET’s Nancy O’Dell and Kevin Frazier surprised Mary with the first-ever ET Icon Award — and we, of course, got it all on tape!
On tonight’s show, Nancy chats with Mary about getting starstruck, hanging out with legends, and those million-dollar legs. “Do you feel like it was just yesterday when you watch it,” Nancy asks, referring to old footage of Mary interviewing celebrities.
“You know what,” Mary begins, getting teary-eyed. “It’s fun to look back on all those fine interviews, great experiences, great locations.” So what’s one moment in ET interview history that will always stand out to Mary? The time she got starstruck while chatting with the lovable Lucille Ball.
“For me, it was the movie stars I had grown up watching [that would make me star-struck],” she explains. “When I interviewed, the one and only time, I interviewed Lucille Ball in the early days of ET.” Another memorable moment was when she got to go on tour with Michael Jackson.
“[That experience] was extraordinary,” she reveals. “I got to see in a way nobody else ever had, almost a magician at work. And he seemed to me, backstage, so nervous and so frail, and so quiet. I thought, ‘how could he turn into Michael Jackson?'”
Later in the show, Nancy asks Mary what loyal ET viewers have probably been wondering — “Are your legs still insured?” (Back in the ’80s, Mary insured her legs for $1 million each).
“I doubt it,” she replies, with a laugh. “No, I don’t think they have been insured for a long time.” Though Mary tells Nancy she’s accomplished a lot since her departure as an anchor in 2011, the 64-year-old admits she does miss ET.
“I miss more than anything, I think, the comradery,” she says. “We went through marriages, births, deaths, celebrated as a family and mourned as a family and I miss that the most.”