Mary Tyler Moore Death: A look at her legacy in Hollywood and beyond


Mary Tyler Moore, an Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actress, died Wednesday at the age of 80.

The acclaimed actress was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1969 and underwent a tumor removal from her brain in 2011. A household name thanks to TV and film, her career and activism span decades.

Born in Brooklyn, New York

Moore was born Dec. 29, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York. After acting and dancing in high school, she began acting in commercials and, in 1959, was cast in Richard Diamond, Private Detective in a role that only showed off her legs. Her film debut came in 1961 in X-15. 

From Dick Van Dyke to Mary Tyler Moore 

In 1961, Moore landed the part of Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show and went on to win Emmys in 1964 and 1966. Moore and Van Dyke had chemistry and engaged in witty banter that made them one of TV's most beloved couples. The Dick Van Dyke Show ended in 1966, and Moore went on to star in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Change of Habit before The Mary Tyler Moore Show began, launching a new phase in Moore's career and for women in television


Moore played Mary Richards, a single, 30-something working woman, who was one of the first single successful female characters on television. The sitcom followed Mary, newly out of a failed relationship and pursuing her career at a Minneapolis television station. The series was produced by Moore and her husband Grant Tinker through MTM Enterprises. The show also featured Ed Asner, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod and Ted Knight. 

Ordinary People and other films 

Moore's performance as Beth in the 1980 film adaptation of Judith Guest's novel Ordinary People was a surprise to those accustomed to her spunky and optimistic persona. As the suburban mother determined to keep up appearances after the tragic death of a child and the attempted suicide of another, she earned her first Academy Award nomination

1980 was a year of critical recognition for Moore; she also won a Tony Award that year for her performance in Whose Life Is It Anyway? 

She starred in numerous TV films, including Heartsounds, the miniseries Lincoln, The Last Best Year and Mary and Rhoda, among others.


Moore was married three times: to Ricard Meeker in 1955, to Grant Tinker in 1962 and to Robert Levine in 1983. She had one son, Richard, who died in 1980 from an accidental gunshot wound. 

Addiction and activism 

Moore had been open about her alcoholism, having checked into the Betty Ford clinic in the past. In 2009 she revealed that she had not had a drink since 1984. After being diagnosed with diabetes at the age 33, she served as the international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

A lover of animals, Moore also worked with Farm Sanctuary and co-founded Broadway Barks, which organizes annual events with Broadway stars to promote pet adoption.