American actress Mary Tyler Moore has quit a new off-Broadway play amid claims of being "pushed out", just two weeks before the show is due to open.

The TV comedienne was meant to open in a production of acclaimed writer Neil Simon's new play ROSE'S DILEMMA at the MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB, New York on 18 December (03) - but, according to the NEW YORK TIMES newspaper, Tyler quit the show after receiving a letter from Simon criticising her for not learning her lines.

Moore missed two preview performances on Wednesday (3DEC03) and has since been replaced by PATRICIA HODGES.

In a statement in today's (5DEC03) Times, Moore's spokeswoman Mara Buxbaum says the star is "devastated and completely debilitated professionally and personally", adding, "Mary has been working tirelessly for months but feels pushed out of this production."

LYNNE MEADOW and BARRY GROVE of the MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB respond only, "We are disappointed that the Neil Simon-Mary Tyler Moore collaboration did not work out."

05/12/2003 17:20