MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Iconic actress Mary Tyler Moore has died at the age of 80.
Moore died with her husband of 33 years and friends nearby, her publicist said.
Moore was the star of two of TV’s best-loved sitcoms – “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in the 1960s and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1970s.
Born in Brooklyn in 1936 and raised in Southern California, Moore started acting at 17-years-old and within a year was married and pregnant.
Six years later, she was divorced. That’s when she got her first big break playing Laura Petrie, a wholesome, spunky wife on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
“It was the best fun. You couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning and you sort of hated to go home in the afternoon,” said Moore.
Moore married TV executive Grant Tinker in 1962 and they formed MTM enterprises. Its first TV series was the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Set in Minneapolis, MN it was one of the first primetime programs to feature a single working woman. The show lasted for seven seasons and it was a career maker for the ensemble cast who had their own MTM spin-off and who often spent time together even decades later.
“It was fantastic and a lot of it was the tone Mary set. She was just wonderful. She never played boss lady,” said Valerie Harper who played ‘Rhoda’ on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
In 1980, audiences saw an unfunny side of Moore. She played an icy, grieving mother in the film “Ordinary People.” She won the Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar, but that same year her only son died from an accidental gunshot.
Moore had her own struggles with alcoholism and diabetes and devoted much of her time to raising awareness.
“I have struggled with my disease and confronted its tyranny every day of my life,” said Moore.
In 1983, Moore remarried and continued acting in movies, the stage, and the small screen, often to critical acclaim. Her career spanned more half a century. But she’ll always be remembered as the girl who turned the world on with her smile.
Following her death Wednesday, Leslie Moonves, CBS Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, issued a statement saying,
“Mary Tyler Moore was a once-in-a-generation talent. She will be long remembered as a gifted actress, television pioneer and a role model to so many. CBS has lost one of the very best to ever grace our airwaves and our industry has lost a true legend and friend.”
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