TV legend MARY TYLER MOORE died yesterday. She was 80 years old, and was with family and friends when she passed, including her husband of 33 years, Robert Levine.
Her family told the “New York Times” that she died of cardiac arrest after getting pneumonia. TMZ said she’d been on a respirator for more than a week . . . and was taken off life support late Tuesday night.
Mary had been having health issues for a while . . . she had diabetes most of her life, and five years ago she had brain surgery to remove a benign tumor in the tissue lining her brain. In 2015, Dick Van Dyke told Larry King that her diabetes had, quote, “taken a toll on her, [and] she’s not well at all.”
Mary started out as a kid playing the elf “Happy Hotpoint” in TV commercials for Hotpoint appliances. She took a lot of other acting gigs, but then she really hit it big co-starring on the “The Dick Van Dyke” show from 1961 to 1966.
She often wore capri pants instead of a dress on the show, and it actually caused quite a stir at the time. In 1995, she said, quote, “I think we broke new ground, and that was helped by my insistence on wearing pants . . .
“I said I’ve seen all the other actresses and they’re always running the vacuum in these little flowered frocks with high heels on, and I don’t do that . . . I’ll dress on the show the way I do in real life.”
In the ’70s, she launched her own sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” with Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Gavin MacLeod, Valerie Harper and BETTY FRICKIN’ WHITE. It lasted for seven seasons. from 1970 to ’77.
She also did a handful of movies, including “Ordinary People”, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, “Flirting with Disaster”, Elvis’ Presley’s last scripted movie “Change of Habit”, and the Lindsay Lohan movie “Labor Pains”.
She got a Best Actress Oscar nomination in 1980 for “Ordinary People”, but she lost to Sissy Spacek for her role in “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. Mary won six Emmys . . . two for “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, three for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, and another for the 1993 TV Movie “Stolen Babies”.
Her last role was an episode of “Hot in Cleveland” in 2013, where she reunited with her “Mary Tyler Moore Show” co-stars Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Georgia Engel, and Betty White.