Mary Tyler Moore died on January 25th at the age of 80. Her representative Mara Buxbaum confirmed her death after short hospitalization in Connecticut to The Huffington Post. Buxbaum stated that she passed away in company of Dr. S. Robert Levine, her loving husband of over 33 years, and her friends. This TV icon was well known as actress, producer and also representative of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Her rep also added: “Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile”.
Moore was born in 1936, in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Los Angeles. She became internationally famous with 1960s sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” In 1970s, she was a central star of sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. This show was unique as it was the first show to present Mary Richards, a 30-year-old non-married woman and TV news producer as a central character.
Moore’s character asked equal pay for her and her male co-workers, and also decided to use a pill. Show’s character inspired women to be seen as more that wives and homemakers and was a pioneer in the women’s liberation movement. Oprah Winfrey stated in a recent documentary about the actress that she influenced her career more than other people. Mary Tyler Moore said in 2002 CNN interview that her character was not aggressive, but definitely was a feminist. She also stated that situations were demanding such behavior.
Mary herself was also a fascinating person. Self-titled show was started in 1970 and she and Grant Tinker, her former husband, co-founded MTM Enterprises, a production company. The show will be later pitched to CBS. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” won 29 Emmy awards during seven seasons, and held this record until 2002, when it was surpassed by show “Frasier”. Alan Rafkin, her friend and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” director stated in his autobiography that Mary was a true businesswoman primarily. He also added that although she was always in charge, people were not obliged to act in her manner; yet, no one ever forgot that she was the boss.
When the show ended, Moore continued to act in movies. Her appearance in 1980’s movie “Ordinary People” as a grieving mother brought her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Mary also appeared in “hot in Cleveland” with her former co-stars from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, actresses Betty White and Valerie Harper.
She was also an animal rights advocate. Moore founded Broadway Barks 15, an annual event in New York for the adoption of cats and dogs and fought for laws forbidding suffering of farm animals. In 1997 interview she stated that she would like to be somebody who made difference in lives of animals.
At the age of 33, actress was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As a result of her disease, she was near blindness in recent years. She was also Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s international chairman and an advocate for research of the cure for diabetes. In 2009, she published a memoir entitled Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes.