Per CNN, Actress Mary Tyler Moore, whose eponymous 1970s series helped usher in a new era for women on television, died Wednesday at the age of 80, her longtime representative Mara Buxbaum said.
“Today beloved icon Mary Tyler Moore passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine,” she 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.”
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” debuted in 1970 and starred the actress as Mary Richards, a single 30-something career woman at a Minneapolis TV station. The series was hailed by feminists and fans alike as the first modern woman’s sitcom.
But that wasn’t the role which catapulted her into stardom. Moore first found fame playing Laura Petrie, the wife on the “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which ran for five seasons beginning in 1961.
In an interview with Conan O’Brien, show creator Carl Reiner said he auditioned more than two dozen actresses before Moore’s reading marked her as the only one who could play Laura.
“I grabbed the top of her head and I said ‘Come with me,'” Reiner told O’Brien. “I walked her down the hall to [Show producer Sheldon Leonard] and said ‘I found her!'”
Hollywood mourned her loss on Wednesday.
Moore was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, to clerk George Tyler Moore and his wife, Marjorie.
When she was still a young girl the family, which included her two younger siblings, moved to Los Angeles. Moore would later reveal that her mother was an alcoholic which caused the household to be chaotic.
Moore began her career as a dancer and in the 1950s landed a gig as dancing elf Happy Hotpoint, on a series of Hotpoint appliances TV commercials which ran during “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” television show