Mary Tyler Moore artist, actress, comedienne, dancer and a role model for modern, working women passed away at 80 from complications of diabetes. She was surrounded by family and friends who loved her.
Her career spanned decades from her debut as a dancer for Hotpoint appliances in 1955 to her appearance in “Hot in Cleveland” in 2013. And what career it was!
Her role on the “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1961-1966) enraged critics because she had the audacity to wear Capri pants(!) but it also earned her the nickname “America’s sweetheart” and two Emmys.
Her portrayal of Mary Richards, a single 30-something career woman at a Minneapolis TV station, (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) took America by storm. (And won her 3 Emmy Awards!) Her character not only showed a woman succeeding in a man-dominated workplace, but didn’t shy away from exploring such controversial – at the time! – topics as birth control and equal pay for women. The show ran from 1970 to 1977. Mary Tyler Moore was celebrated for representing modern women then and remains a symbol of successful career women today.
She costarred with Elvis Presley in the film “Change of Habit” (1969). Her performance in 1980 film “Ordinary People” earned her Best Actress Oscar nomination. Mary Tyler Moore made television history, wrote two memoirs and starred in more than ten films. She was also a tireless supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Her personal life wasn’t all smooth sailing. She was married three times. She had one child, Richard Jr. Meeker, who accidentally shot himself to death in his early twenties. Mary Tyler Moore fought a long battle with diabetes. She succeeded in her fight with alcoholism. In 2011 she underwent surgery to remove benign brain tumor. She was a survivor.
Mary Tyler Moore was one of the greatest comediennes of our times who together with greats like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett blazed the trail for today’s comediennes whose success we’re taking for granted. Let’s not forget that she is the first who portrayed a modern career woman in a TV sitcom, popularizing the image of women as not only fully-fledged human beings, but formidable contenders in the business world. Yes, it was as recently as the 1970s…. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Dan Rather expressed the feelings of many when he tweeted: “I’m deep in regret about the passing of Mary Tyler Moore. What an actress. What a woman. What a person……”