It is with great sadness to report that ABC News, The Associated Press, CNN, The Hollywood Reporter, and TMZ, have confirmed from her publicist that beloved TV legend Mary Tyler Moore has passed away.
The iconic actress was born on December 29, 1936, to parents Marjorie and George Tyler Moore in Brooklyn, New York. Eight years after she was born, her family moved to Los Angeles, where at 17-years-old, the acting bug bit her.
She spent an early part of her storied career on television as a spokeswoman for Hotpoint appliance commercials. The ads were aired side-by-side with legendary 1950s television series: Ozzie & Harriet. When she was pregnant with her only son, Richard Meeker, Jr., her bosses decided to release her from her duties.
After bouncing around between both TV and film, a phone call from entertainment writer-director Carl Reiner changed everything. The television pioneer was creating a sitcom that was based on his life and career and that entertainer Danny Thomas recommended her for a part. Ms. Moore was cast as Laura Petrie, the wife of Robert Petrie (played by Dick Van Dyke), in one of the television industry’s most endearing sitcoms: The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Throughout the show’s five seasons, Ms. Moore won two Emmy Awards, and a Golden Globe for her work and viewers fell in love with her character’s dynamic personality. When the show took its final bow in 1966, she filmed five movies including 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie and American icon Elvis Presley’s last scripted film: 1969’s Change of Habit.
One year later, she reunited with Mr. Van Dyke for a 1970 television special: Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman. This move lead her and her then-husband, Grant Tinker, to successfully pitch a sitcom that would become one of the greatest ensemble comedy shows of all-time: The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
For seven seasons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show followed the misadventures of Mary Richards (Moore), who was trying to find her way around the broadcast news industry as a single working woman in her 30s. The show also featured an all-star cast that included Valerie Harper (Rhoda), Ed Asner (Lou Grant), Cloris Leachman (Phyllis Lindstrom), and Betty White (Sue Ann Nivens), whose characters often either encouraged or clashed with Mary over ideology.
Not only did The Mary Tyler Moore Show became a fan-favorite show, but it also was a critics’ darling. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded the CBS sitcom 29 Primetime Emmys throughout its seven-year run, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated the comedy for 22 Golden Globes.
The show spun off three shows including Rhoda (1974-78), Phyllis (1975-77), and Lou Grant (1977-82). Throughout the years, the cast held many reunions including 1991’s The Mary Tyler Moore 20th Anniversary Show, 2002’s The Mary Tyler Moore Reunion, and on a 2008 episode of Oprah, who credits the show for inspiring her career in the media industry.
Unfortunately, Ms. Tyler Moore could not replicate the lighting-in-a-bottle magic that she had with her Mary Tyler Moore crew as two of her CBS shows, 1978’s Mary Tyler Moore Hour and 1985-86’s Mary, failed to capture the attention of fans.
Throughout the last three decades, Ms. Tyler Moore appeared as a guest star on numerous shows such as Ellen, Frasier, King of the Hill, That ‘70s Show, Lipstick Jungle, and Hot in Cleveland. She also starred in films such as Labor Pains, Cheats, and Against the Current.
Outside of the entertainment world, Ms. Tyler Moore was very active with several charitable organizations. She co-founded Broadway Barks in 1999 with Bernadette Peters. The annual event helps promotes the adoption of shelter animals in New York City as actors present many dogs and cats that are available for the public to adopt. Ms. Tyler Moore also served as the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Jake’s Take is sending its thoughts and prayers to Ms. Tyler Moore’s family, friends, and fans. She will be missed!