One of the most popular actresses in the history of television, Mary Tyler Moore, has died at the age of 80.
Fame didn’t come easy for the star, who grew up in a home with an alcoholic mother and “emotionally distant” father. Moore was also candid about her own struggles with alcoholism.
But the beauty beat the odds, and in addition to starring in her own show, she rose to stardom with a plethora of other roles.
Here’s what you need to know about the life and death of a beautiful, adored actress:
1. She Is Dead at the Age of 80
Moore died at the age of 80 on January 25, 2017, as reported by the Associated Press.
TMZ reported that the actress’ condition was “so grim” that family members went to the hospital to “say goodbye.”
TMZ also reported that the actress had been on a respirator for more than a week.
The news comes after Moore suffered a decades-long battle with Type 1 Diabetes.
Moore’s representative released the following statement to People Magazine:
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.
2. In Addition to Several Other Roles, the Actress Had Her Own Television Show; ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’
According to Biography.com, Moore began her career dancing in commercials and in 1959 landed a role in Richard Diamond, Private Detective, where she played a glamorous secretary. In the show, the actresses face was never shown, and her shapely legs represented the beauty.
Moore also made several guest appearances in a variety of shows including Johnny Staccato, Bachelor Father, The Tab Hunter Show, 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside 6, Hawaiian Eye and Lock-Up.
She made her first film debut in X-15.
When she was a teen, Moore auditioned for a role on The Danny Thomas Show, as Thomas’ daughter. Moore was subsequently rejected and Thomas said that “no one would believe a girl with a little button nose like hers could be a daughter of mine,” according to mentalfloss.com.
Just a few years later, in 1961, the actress became a hit for her role on The Dick Van Dyke Show, where she played Laura Petrie. It’s interesting to note that Van Dyke was initially hesitant to hire the young girl, who was 11 years young than him. However, their chemistry on-stage could not be debated.
The show earned Moore Emmy Awards in 1964 and 1966, including “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.”
After The Dick Van Dyke Show ended in 1966, Moore was featured in movie musicals, which included Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967 and Change of Habit, where she starred alongside Elvis Presley in 1970. In addition she played a role in Run a Crooked Mile in 1969, a made-for TV thriller.
In 1970, The Mary Tyler Moore Show was born, and Moore portrayed an independently happy and successful woman on her own, rather than relying on her husband for happiness. The show lasted seven years, until 1977.
3. She Was Born in Brooklyn, & Moved to California at Age 8
Moore was born on December 29, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York. Her family moved from New York to Los Angeles when she was eight-years-old.
The eldest of three children, the icon was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic high school, where she graduated in 1955. Soon after, her only child, Richie, was born.
Moore’s childhood wasn’t easy, and parade.com reported that “her mother was an alcoholic and her father an emotionally distant man whose approval she never felt she achieved.
The star was very public about her own battle with alcoholism, although she told Parade in 2009 that she “hadn’t had a drink since 1984.”
4. She Was Married 3 Times & Lost Her Only Child to a Gun Accident
Moore was married three times and lost her only child, Richard Meeker, to suicide in 1980.
Moore first married Richard Meeker in 1955, whom she had son Richard with the following year. After the couple’s divorce, she married television executive Grant Tinker, who in 1962. The couple divorced in 1981.
Richard Meeker died of a gunshot wound to the head on October 14, 1980.
At the time, it was rumored that Meeker had committed suicide, but Moore says that this is not true; Meeker was a gun collector, and she says his death was accidental.
“Unfortunately, there were terrible rumors that Richie killed himself, but it was an accident,” she told the National Ledger. “He was a gun collector, was cleaning guns, and one of them went off and shot him in the head.”
At the time, Meeker’s roommate told The Washington Post, “He was loading and unloading the short-barreled gun when it went off…It was awful. He must have pulled the trigger. There was a big bang and he fell on the bed.”
In 1983, three years after her son’s death, Moore married Robert Levine, a physician who had treated the actress’ mother.
5. She Was Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at Age 33
Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the young age of 33.
According to friends of Moore, the icon was nearly blind from her fight with diabetes, as reported by Mercury News in 2014.
“Her eyesight is what the big problem is right now,” friend and former “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” co-star Betty White told Closer Weekly magazine, according to Mercury News.
“I don’t see her often, but I talk to her a bunch,” Dick Van Dyke told Closer. “She hasn’t been too well. She’s really having a battle with it, I’m sorry to say.”
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