Television Icon, Mary Tyler Moore, Dies Wednesday At 80

  • Born on December 29th, 1936 in the Brooklyn Heights section of Brooklyn, New York, she moved to Los Angeles when she was eight.
  • She was married three times and had just one child, from her first marriage.
  • Mary was best known for her eponymous sitcom but first made a name for herself on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
  • Her film resume includes 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie, 1968's What's So Bad About Feeling Good? and 1980's Ordinary People
  • A recovering alcoholic, she lived with diabetes for many years. She also had brain surgery in 2011.
  • Her career honors included six Emmys, three Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

Mary Tyler Moore was born on December 29th, 1936 in the Brooklyn Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. She lived with her mother in Flushing, Queens before her family moved to Los Angeles when she was eight.

At age 17, Moore aspired to be a dancer. She started her career as Happy Hotpoint, a tiny elf dancing on Hotpoint appliances in TV commercials during the 1950s series Ozzie and Harriet. Moore's first regular television role was as a mysterious and glamorous telephone receptionist on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. She then appeared in several television shows, including Bourbon Street Beat, 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside Six and Wanted: Dead or Alive.

Moore made her film debut in 1961's X-15. She subsequently appeared in a string of 1960s films including 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie Andrews, 1968's What's So Bad About Feeling Good? with George Peppard, and 1969's Change of Habit with Elvis Presley.

But her big break came in 1961 when she landed the role of Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. She won her first two Emmys and her first Golden Globe on the show.

Mary parlayed her fame into her own sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She played a local news producer on a Minneapolis TV station, working under a boss played by Ed Asner. The show was so popular that three of its characters, including Asner's Lou Grant, became the subjects of their own sitcoms.

Her later work included the 1980 film Ordinary People, for which she received an Oscar nomination, the mid-'80s sitcom Mary, a recurring role on the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom Ellen and a 2004 Dick Van Dyke Show reunion. Her last on-screen work was a guest shot on the sitcom Hot in Cleveland in 2013.

Mary was married three times. Her first marriage, to Richard Carleton Meeker, lasted seven years and gave Mary her only child, Richard Junior. It ended in 1961. Richard Junior accidentally killed himself with a shotgun in 1980. She wed CBS exec Grant Tinker the next year and stayed with him for almost two decades. After their divorce, she married Doctor Robert Levine in 1983 and remained with him until her death.

She revealed in one of her two memoirs, the 1995 book After All, that she was a recovering alcoholic. She also suffered from Type 1 diabetes and was a longtime advocate for better care. Mary underwent brain surgery in 2011, and though she recovered, she was said to have been plagued by multiple health issues late in life.

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