Mary Tyler Moore actress, comedienne, dancer and a role model for modern, career women passed away at 80 from presumably from complications of diabetes. She was surrounded by family and friends who loved her.
Her career spanned decades from her debut as a dancer for Hotpoint appliances in 1955 to her appearance in “Hot in Cleveland” in 2013. Her role on the “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1961-1966) enraged critics because she had the audacity to wear Capri pants(!) but it also earned her the nickname “America’s sweetheart” and two Emmys. Her portrayal of Mary Richards, a single 30-something career woman at a Minneapolis TV station, (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) took America by storm. (And won her 3 Emmy Awards!) Her character not only showed a woman succeeding in a man-dominated workplace, but didn’t shy away from exploring such controversial – at the time! – topics as birth control and equal pay for women. The show ran from 1970 to 1977. Mary Tyler Moore was celebrated for representing modern women then and remains a symbol of successful career women today.
She costarred with Elvis Presley in the film “Change of Habit” (1969). Her performance in 1980 film “Ordinary People” earned her Best Actress Oscar nomination. Mary Tyler Moore made television history, wrote two memoirs and starred in more than ten films. She was also a tireless supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Her personal life wasn’t free of pain or trouble. She was married three times. She had one child, Richard Jr. Meeker, who accidentally shot himself to death in his early twenties. Mary Tyler Moore fought a long battle with diabetes. She succeeded in her fight with alcoholism. In 2011 she underwent surgery to remove benign brain tumor. She was a survivor and as she put it: “a flourisher”.
Mary Tyler Moore was one of the greatest comediennes of our times and she blazed the trail for today’s comediennes whose success we’re taking for granted. Let’s not forget either that she is the first who portrayed a modern career woman in a 1970s TV sitcom, popularizing the image of women as contenders in the business world.