Mary Tyler Moore, born on December 29, 1936, was an American actress, producer, and renowned social advocate. Among her most prominent works were the famous sitcoms “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which aired from 1961 to 1966, and the 1970s “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Moore was a seven-time winner of Primetime Emmy Awards and a three-time Golden Globe Awards winner. She received an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Actress’ after starring in the psychological drama “Ordinary People” in 1980. Moore was also known for establishing her T.V. production company, MTM. During her life, she was a strong supporter of animal rights, vegetarianism, and the prevention of diabetes. Moore passed away at 80 years old on January 25, 2017. Today, we invite you to revisit the journey of this great actress.
Mary Tyler Moore
Queen of Brooklyn
December 29, 1936
January 25, 2017 (age 80)
Mary Tyler Moore was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 29, 1936, to George Tyler Moore and Marjorie Hackett. She was raised in an Irish-Catholic family in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn with a younger brother and sister, who unfortunately passed away ahead of her at 21 and 47 years old respectively. She attended Brooklyn’s Lima Parochial School until third grade before her family relocated to Los Angeles, California when she was eight. Moore resumed her study at Saint Ambrose School and continued to Immaculate Heart High School in the Los Feliz neighborhood. Her first television appearance took place in the 1950s when she worked for Hotpoint appliances’ T.V. commercials. She received around $6,000 after being featured in 39 commercials within five days. In 1955, the 18 years old Moore married salesman Richard Meeker, who was 10 years older than her. She was let go from her work at Hotpoint due to her pregnancy with her first and only child, Richard Carleton Meeker, Jr. The couple was only together until 1962.
Moore made her film debut with a small role as a nurse in Jack Lemmon’s 1957 “Operation Mad Ball.” Her first regular appearance on a T.V. show was when she played a mysterious, yet glamorous phone receptionist whose face was never shown in Richard Diamond’s 1959 “Private Detective.” She received her first speaking part in a movie with “X-15” in 1961. Moore found her breakthrough after landing a role in the legendary sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show” as Laura Petrie. Dubbed as one of the funniest and most sophisticated sitcoms in American T.V. history, the show ran for five seasons from 1961 to 1966. The couple founded the MTM Enterprises in 1970, a T.V. production company that produced Moore’s next best-known work, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Throughout its seven seasons from 1970 to 1977, the program hoarded no less than 29 Emmy Awards. Moore also earned herself three Emmys and a Golden Globe. She also appeared on Broadway several times.
Moore made her comeback to the big screen with “Ordinary People” on September 19, 1980, where she played the role of a mother grieving over the accidental death of her son. Moore married Robert Levine, a cardiologist, at the New York City’s Pierre Hotel on November 23, 1983. She received her star at the 7021 Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame on September 8, 1992. She appeared as a guest star in Ellen DeGeneres’ “The Ellen Show” in 2001 and was reunited with her former co-stars from “The Dick Van Dyke Show” on a reunion special in 2004. She had a bronze statue standing at the Minneapolis intersection since May 8, 2002. The actress has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes since 1969. She wrote and published two memoirs in 1995 and 2009. The first one, titled “After All,” talked about her admittance to being a recovering alcoholic, while the second one, “Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes,” focused on her life after being diagnosed with type one diabetes. Moore passed away on January 25, 2017, at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut. She was 80 years old at the time. Her cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest. The actress was buried in a private ceremony at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Moore makes her first T.V. appearance in Hotpoint appliances’ commercials, followed by playing the role of a mysterious receptionist in the “Private Detective.”
Moore lands a role in “The Dick Van Dyke Show” as Laura Petrie, winning two Emmys and a Golden Globe Award.
Moore and her former husband, Tinker, establish the MTM Enterprises and produce “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Moore receives her star at the 7021 Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame.
Moore’s bronze statue is revealed at the Minneapolis intersection, portraying her signature hat-toss in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Moore passes away at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut due to cardiopulmonary arrest and pneumonia complications.
Why We Love Mary Tyler Moore
She was keen on pursuing her dream
Moore knew what her passion was and she was dedicated to pursuing it until the end. She didn’t hesitate to leave dancing and pave her acting career from scratch, stating that dancing lacked the spotlight she needed to be a star.
She used her fame for a good cause
Moore served as the International Chairperson of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. With her popularity and status as a celebrity, she actively contributed to raising awareness and funds to help the foundation fight against diabetes mellitus type one among young people.
She fought for animal rights
Moore had been an animal rights advocate for many years. She supported numerous charities like the Farm Sanctuary and A.S.P.C.A., helping to raise awareness of factory farming methods and promote better treatment for farm animals. Moore was a co-founder of New York City’s annual animal adopt-a-thon, the Broadway Barks.
5 Surprising Facts
The unwanted freebies
Although Moore was a heavy smoker, she was not a fan of the cigarette brand Kent that sponsored “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” so she would trade the Kent cigarettes she received from the sponsor to a local store.
The huge age gap with her sister
Moore’s sister, Elizabeth, was only three months older than her son, Richard.
Jackie Kennedy’s fashion
When starring as Laura Petrie, Moore frequently wore styles that resembled the fashion style of the then First Lady.
Setting a record
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” held the record of 29 Emmy wins until 2002 when “Frasier,” an N.B.C. sitcom, earned its 30th Emmy.
Meeting the Pope
Moore and her mother had a personal audience in the Vatican with the late Pope John Paul II.
Mary Tyler Moore FAQs
How long were Moore and Levine married?
The couple was married for 34 years until Moore’s death in 2017.
Are any of the “Mary Tyler Moore” cast still alive?
Following the death of Betty White in 2021, all the regular members of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” are now deceased.
Is “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” available on Netflix?
The show is not available on Netflix. Currently, the first three seasons can be viewed on Hulu.
Mary Tyler Moore’s birthday dates