RIP Mary Tyler Moore, Dead at 80
“Who can turn the world on with her smile?” begin the lyrics to Sony Curtis’ The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song. The answer to that question was as true for the fictional Mary Richards as it was for the woman who played her. It is with a heavy heart that we report that the world has lost Academy Award-nominated actress Mary Tyler Moore.
“Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine,” reads the official statement on the actress’ passing. “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.”
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Mary Tyler Moore moved to Los Angeles at age eight. By 17, she had started acting on television and in commercials with her first major break coming in the form of a leading role on The Dick Van Dyke Show, beginning in 1961. She won her first Emmy (of six) and her first Golden Globe (of three) for her performance as Laurie Petrie on that series.
Mary Tyler Moore’s accolades would continue with the launch of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970. Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, the series ran for seven seasons (168 episodes) and was notable for featuring an independent working woman in the lead, challenging gender roles in pop culture.
On the big screen, Mary Tyler Moore is best known for her Oscar-nominated performance in Robert Redford’s Ordinary People. The 1980 film was based on the novel by Judith Guest and, while Moore didn’t take home the Oscar, she did receive a Golden Globe for her performance as grieving mother Beth Jarrett.
What was your favorite Mary Tyler Moore performance? Share your memories in the comments below.