Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore Dead at 80, Remembered as 'Visionary Who Turned the World on With Her Smile'

Mary Tyler Moore, star of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died on Wednesday. She was 80.The beloved icon passed away “in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine,” Moore’s longtime rep, Mara Buxbaum, said in a statement. “A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile.”

It had been reported early Wednesday that the TV icon was in a Connecticut hospital in critical condition. TMZ noted that, besides diabetes, she suffered from numerous additional health problems and had undergone brain surgery in 2011.

After beginning her 60-plus-year showbiz career as a dancer, Moore began to make inroads as an actress in 1959, thanks to a recurring role on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Two years later, she got her big break when she was cast as Dick Van Dyke’s wife on his eponymous CBS sitcom. Upon winning the first of her two Emmys for her portrayal of Laura Petrie, Moore famously said, “I know this will never happen again.” Which, of course, it did, over and over.

Mary Tyler MooreDuring the 1970-77 run of CBS’ Mary Tyler Moore Show, its leading lady took home four more Emmys, including a 1974 golden girl for Actress of the Year (Series). A year after The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s finale, its star was already back on the small screen but headlining one unsuccessful variety show (The Mary Tyler Moore Hour) after another (Mary).

Moore returned to series television several more times — with the comedies Mary (1985) and Annie McGuire (1988), and the drama New York News (1995). But none of those shows caught on, much less held a candle to The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which netted a total of 29 Emmys — a record unbroken until Frasier won its 30th in 2002. Through MTM Enterprises, the company that Moore launched in 1969 with then-husband Grant Tinker, she produced such hit series as The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart, Hill Street Blues, Remington Steele and St. Elsewhere.

Besides her series work, Moore also starred in a number of TV movies, among them Like Mother, Like Son, The Gin Game (with Van Dyke), Stolen Babies (for which she won another Emmy in 1993) and Mary and Rhoda, in which she and Valerie Harper reprised their Mary Tyler Moore Show roles. Her guest gigs included appearances on The Ellen Show, That ’70s Show and Lipstick Jungle.

In what would turn out to be her final TV appearances, Moore reunited with Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Betty White in a 2011 episode of Hot in Cleveland, then not only with White but also with their old MTM castmates Harper, Cloris Leachman and Georgia Engel in a 2013 installment (posted below).

The author of two memoirs — After All and Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes — Moore appeared on the big screen in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Change of Habit (opposite Elvis Presley), Just Between Friends and Ordinary People (for which she was Oscar-nominated in 1981).

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50 Comments
  1. Luis Roman says:

    A devastating loss to anyone who grew up with Mary as one of the most familiar faces on television

  2. Brian says:

    Ugh…

    RIP

  3. Phun says:

    RIP Mary Tyler Moore! :(

  4. CW says:

    This makes me very sad. There have been so many great television series over the years but The Mary Tyler Moore show is still my all time favorite. What a fantastic legacy she leaves.

  5. peegee says:

    so sad- she brought many hours of entertainment to so many people

  6. Steven says:

    Rest in Peace Mary Tyler Moore Tyler Moore Moore Moore.

  7. Fan says:

    She truly turned the world on with her smile….. and grace, and talent, and beauty. Thanks for the wonderful memories Ms Moore. You will never be forgotten. RIP

  8. Mary says:

    Thoughts and prayers to her family. Grew up watching her. RIP

  9. Nan says:

    Nobody has done it like Mary…her show still holds up today. A great woman and talent..will be sorely missed. Who can turn the world on with her smile…Mary

  10. Natalie says:

    RIP Mary —You were my idol when I was young.

  11. jp says:

    In addition to loving her performing career I appreciated how committed she was to animals and dog rescue. She also was one of the first people I had heard of that owned a PBGV ( Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen). Rest easy Mary!

  12. Dev says:

    Such a big loss. Looks like 2017 is getting started early, too. :(

  13. c-mo says:

    I have such great memories of watching all of her TV shows growing up and will mis her sparkling wit.

  14. Judiwb says:

    RIP—Prayers to her family

  15. annieo53 says:

    I feel like I’ve lost a friend, very sad. RIP and thank you for all your wonderful work.

  16. TvPeong says:

    May she rest in peace

  17. kmw says:

    Rest in peace MTM. You DID turn the world on with your smile

  18. Butch says:

    I live near Bonnie Meadow Rd which was the street where Rob and Laura Petrie supposedly lived. It was the actual street Carl Reiner lived in New Rochelle in the 1950’s. I alway think of them when I drive by. Thank you for the many years of entertainment. RIP.

  19. “Oh, Rob!” “Oh, Mr. Grant!” Oh, damnit. :'( RIP Mary. You were an icon.

  20. So many of her cast mates, older than she, are still with us. Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, Ed Asner, Gavin McLeod, Betty White, Cloris Leachman. Gone too soon, Mary. :'(

  21. Brigid says:

    THIS made me cry. One of my mother’s favorite actresses who was all class and beauty. My mother passed away 2 years ago next week and I thought of her meeting Mary in heaven. I hope she did! Thoughts and prayers for her family, she will always be remembered for her talent and her smile. RIP

  22. Julia says:

    A fighter to the end…I loved her as did everyone else. Time to rest beautiful Mary.

  23. Winter says:

    The Mary Tyler Moore Show was such a defining force in my life. I had never before seen on TV a single woman working and becoming a success. I always thought you would just get married and have children. She opened my eyes and a big part of who I am today as a single woman in my 30’s is because of her. I’m so devastated right now, but I am also so thankful for all she gave us.

    • Ro says:

      I agree 100%. I’m in my 50s, never got married, never had children and I work in TV… Mary Richards was an inspiration!

  24. Raul J says:

    Now she is turning heaven on with her smile.

  25. DW says:

    What a devastating loss. Rest in Peace Mary.

  26. mr bear says:

    A SONG A DANCE A LITTLE SELTZER DOWN YOUR PANTS !
    LOVE YOU MARY SAY HELLO TO CHUCKLES THE CLOWN !

  27. Jason says:

    What a loss. Her own show was wonderful but The Dick Van Dyke show will always be one of my all time favorite tv shows. I think I’ve always been kind of in love with Laura Petrie.

  28. This is so sad. May she Rest In Peace and hug the MTM cat.

  29. dan says:

    I’ve been expecting this news. When Grant Tinker died a few weeks ago there was a canned statement from MTM, and I got the impression it was from a publicist (they usually are, but this one seemed very impersonal). Every week or so it seems we’re losing icons from the not-so-distant past. RIP MTM.

  30. Beyond sad! I’m left struggling for words… but there are none. R. I. P., dear Mary. I’m betting that you will be one heckuva angel up there in heaven!

  31. Angela says:

    Ah, man, we lost another legend! So incredibly sad to hear this news-thoughts to her family and friends.

  32. Pat says:

    I was so sad to have heard this news. I watched Mary in the ’60’s on the Dick Van Dyke Show and I was amazed at this beautiful woman and her comedic talent. In the ’70’s as a young woman in my twenties, I watched the Mary Tyler Moore Show and this became my favorite show during that time period and she truly became an icon for me. Mary, “MAY YOU REST IN PEACE” and “MAY YOU TURN THE HEAVEN’S ON, WITH YOUR SMILE”!

  33. herman1959 says:

    There are no words; MTM was a big part of my childhood. I still watch Dick Van Dyke and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

  34. kittycat925 says:

    As a young high school/college student, my TV idols were Ann Marie (That Girl) and Mary Richards (MTM). They were two women I admired so much; now one is gone. Mary may you rest in peace.

  35. Alex Meyer says:

    RIP

  36. Patrice says:

    RIP to a phenomenal actor and woman. Have always been a massive fan of her. Another great one gone. :-(

  37. Mark says:

    I must admit I haven’t seen that much of the Dick Van Dyke Show. I keep meaning to change that and haven’t gotten around to it. However, I LOVE the Mary Tyler Moore Show. It was one of the 5 shows I was going to allow myself to buy on DVD when they started releasing shows on DVD. (Like that lasted. You should see all the shows I have on DVD. But I do have those 5.)

    Plus, I love many of the shows that MTM Enterprises were responsible for as well.

    A talented woman indeed.

  38. Nero tTVfiddler says:

    Very sad news… a television icon and legend. So many wonderful childhood memories of watching her on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I know many people often say, ‘They don’t make them like that anymore’; but they truly don’t make them like those two incredible shows anymore. Television at its very best.

    We’ll miss you Mary.

    Rest in peace Mary Tyler Moore… and thank you.

  39. ragnar51 says:

    Man oh man, despite all the people we lost last years this one really touches me. I have no idea why, but I felt the same when James Garner passed. I guess we all have our favorite celebs.

  40. retsim says:

    Sympathy’s to her family and friends.

  41. T says:

    A cold winter Saturday night in Minneapolis found my family watching the MTM Show, Bob Newhart and the Carol Burnett show when I was a child. Didn’t really get any better than that!

  42. I’m going to miss her.