Today, we sadly lost a TV icon. Someone often referred to as America's sweetheart. Mary Tyler Moore, the legendary creator of the highly-influential series The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has passed away at the age of 80. The actress' publicist, Mara Buxbaum, confirmed her client's death with a statement. Here's what the publicist had to say about Mary Tyler Moore's passing.
"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. 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."
The statement was issued to The Huffington Post, which also reports that the actress was hospitalized in Connecticut. While no cause of death was given, Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 33. She suffered near blindness from the disease in more recent years, and she has had a long fought to find a cure for the disease as an advocate. She served as international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and published the memoir Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes in 2009.
Mary Tyler Moore was born on December 29, 1936 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to Marjorie (Hackett) and George Tyler Moore, with her family relocating to California when she was eight. She attended a Catholic high school and married upon her graduation, in 1955, with her only child, Richard, born shortly after her marriage. She got her start in showbiz in 1955 as Happy Hotpoint, a dancing kitchen appliance in Hotpoint Appliance commercials that aired during The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. She started acting in the late 1950s with guest-starring stints on Richard Diamond, Private Detective, 77 Sunset Strip and Lock Up, just to name a few. The late actress got her big break when she was cast as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, where she starred as Laura Petrie in all five seasons between 1961 and 1966.
She became best known for starring in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which ran for seven seasons between 1970 and 1977, and became a landmark TV series, one of the first shows ever to center on a working woman who was single and had never been married. The actress played Minneapolis TV producer Mary Richards, who fought for equal pay and used the birth control pill. The show is often considered among one of the best ever created, and held the record for most Emmy Awards ever by a single series for many years, with 29, before Fraser broke that mark in 2002.
After the show went off the air in 1977, Mary Tyler Moore earned her first and only Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Beth in the 1980 Best Picture winner Ordinary People. She also starred in films Six Weeks and Just Between Friends before returning to the small screen with Mary, where she played a different character, Mary Brenner, but it only lasted for one 13-episode season in 1985. She also starred as the title character Annie McGuire in another short-lived show that only lasted 10 episodes in 1989. Most recently, she appeared in episodes of That 70s Show in 2006, Lipstick Jungle in 2008 and her last role in an episode of Hot in Cleveland in 2013. She survived by her husband Robert Levine and is preceded in death by her only son Richard, who passed in 1980.