Mary Tyler Moore, who rode the line between eternal optimism and female empowerment during her decades-long career as an actress on TV and film, has died, her rep confirmed to Mashable. She was 80.
Moore, best known for her roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1970-1977 and The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s, had been in failing health at a Connecticut hospital on Wednesday, according to TMZ.
Though she was one of television’s biggest stars, Moore successfully made the transition to film, starring in Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967 and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in the 1980 hit drama Ordinary People.
But her role as Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show as a single, thirtysomething TV producer in Minneapolis would remain her most iconic. At a time when women were flooding into the workforce, Richards was the definition of a TV icon, no more pointedly than the moment in the opening credits in which Moore tossed her stylish tam o’ shanter into the air.
It was such an indelible moment that the city of Minneapolis put up a bronze statue of Moore tossing the ‘tam near the very spot where it was shot on the busy Nicollet Mall in 2002.
Moore who was actually born in Brooklyn and went to high school in Los Angeles was on hand for the dedication, of course:
Moore won six Emmy Awards for best actress, for both The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. So popular was her namesake series that it gave birth to two spinoffs, Lou Grant (starring Ed Asner, who had played her gruff boss) and Rhoda (Valerie Harper) based on her plucky next neighbor and best friend.
Moore was a champion for both animal rights and Type 1 diabetes, with which she was diagnosed during her run on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She also wrote extensively about her battles with alcoholism and had a brain tumor removed in 2011.