Mary Tyler Moore Dies At 80
Actress Mary Tyler Moore died on Wednesday after a long battle with diabetes, reports NBC 4 Washington.
She is perhaps best known for playing Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which ran from 1970 to 1977. The sitcom, named by Rolling Stone as the 46th best television show of all time, centered around a 30-something woman who, unexpectedly, lands a job as a producer at a Minneapolis TV station. Much of the comedy revolved around Moore trying to reconcile with the different personalities of the newsroom. There was the cantankerous Lou Grant (Ed Asner) and the shallow but lovable Ted Baxter (Ted Knight).
But the sitcom was about more than hijinks. The show was fairly progressive in that it brought up serious topics like pre-marital sex, equal pay, and divorce—none of which you'd expect to find in a 70s, primetime sitcom. All of it ran parallel with the prevailing issues of the time; in particular, with matters of women's rights. The Feminine Mystique—the groundbreaking Betty Friedan book that urged, among other things, women to join the workforce—had been released just a few years prior to the show's debut. And the Pill became available in 1972. Likewise, The Mary Tyler Moore Show became the nexus for all these topics on the primetime circuit.
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, who chronicled the show in a book, told The Atlantic that it was "TV's first truly female-dominated sitcom," as Richards and best friend Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) represented an emerging population of women who were striking out by themselves in the professional world. Armstrong also noted that, by 1973, 25 of the 74 writers on the show were women, which was revolutionary at the time.
Moore would win Emmys for her performance on the show in 1973, 1974 and 1976. There was also the theme song, of course:
Asner tweeted his respects for Moore:
A great lady I loved and owe so much to has left us. I will miss her. I will never be able to repay her for the blessings that she gave me.— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) January 25, 2017
Before The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she'd played wife Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Moore also went into film acting as well, and earned an Oscar nomination for her role in 1980's Ordinary People.
In her later life, she was perhaps most prominent as an activist, calling attention to animal rights. She also spent much of her efforts educating the public about diabetes, serving as international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In this role, she helped raise funds and grow awareness of type 1 diabetes.