GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mary Tyler Moore, the star of two of TV’s best-loved sitcoms, has died. She was 80.
Moore, a Brooklyn native, died with her husband and friends nearby, her publicist Mara Buxbaum said.
“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,” Buxbaum said in a statement.
“Mary Tyler Moore was a once-in-a-generation talent. She will be long remembered as a gifted actress, television pioneer and a role model to so many,” CBS Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves said. ” CBS has lost one of the very best to ever grace our airwaves and our industry has lost a true legend and friend.”
Born in Brooklyn in 1936 and raised in southern California, the dancer turned to acting at 17 and got her big break on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” playing the dutiful yet independent wife, Laura Petrie, complete with signature Capri pants and a sob that didn’t stop.
“It was the best fun. You just couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning, and you sort of hated to go home in the afternoon,” Moore once said of the show
Divorced and with child, Moore married TV executive Grant Tinker in 1962 and they formed MTM enterprises. Its first series was “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” in Moore played a spunky TV journalist.
It was one of the first prime time shows to feature a single, working woman. The appointment TV show lasted seven seasons and it was a career-maker for the ensemble cast, who had their own MTM spin-offs and who often spent time together decades later.
“It was fantastic and a lot of it was the tone Mary set. She was just wonderful,” Valerie Harper, who played Rhonda, once said of working together.
Over the years she won seven Emmy awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and a Tony Award for “Whose Life Is It Anyway?”
She also was nominated for an Oscar for her 1980 portrayal of an affluent mother whose son is accidentally killed in “Ordinary People.” That same year, her only son died from an accidental gunshot.
For five decades, Moore struggled with Type 1 diabetes. She even went before Congress to raise awareness.
“I have struggled with my disease and confronted its tyranny every day of my life,” she said.
But it didn’t stop her from working on screen into her 70s.
In a Facebook post, Oprah Winfrey reacted to the news of Moore’s death, writing, “you already know how you majorly influenced my life and career.”
“I respected and admired your business acumen, your passion and compassion for all life, and most importantly, the values espoused through your storytelling. Thank you for being a Light that shined so brightly, it let me see myself in you,” she added.
CBS2’s Jessica Layton spoke with people in Greenwich, Connecticut, where Moore lived with her husband of 33 years.
“I adored her on television. She was great fun to watch,” said Gilberte Ross. “I’m sorry she’s gone.”
“She was beautiful, she was so sweet, the sweetness just overflowed with her,” said Beth Pal, of Lacey Township, New Jersey.
Residents said Moore will be remembered not only as a versatile actress, but as a role model for women.
“She always seemed like she was in charge of her own ballgame,” said Kevin Ryan, of the Bronx.
“I think she really represented the working woman — getting out, getting a job and not expecting everything for free,” said Susan Fidaleo, of Stamford, Connecticut.
On Thursday, CBS News will air a special, “Mary Tyler Moore: Love Is All Around.” Gayle King will anchor the broadcast at 9 p.m. on CBS2.
(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)