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Iconic US TV Actress Mary Tyler Moore Dies at 80

  • VOA News

FILE - actress Mary Tyler Moore before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Type 1 Diabetes Research on Capitol Hill in Washington.

American actress Mary Tyler Moore, who starred in two of the most beloved and critically lauded television series in history, died Wednesday in New York.

No cause of death was announced. She was 80 years old.

A trained dancer, Moore began her career appearing in television commercials for an appliance company, dressed as a pixie, and dancing on stoves and ovens.

No one saw her face in hew next role - just her legs as she portrayed a secretary named Sam on Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

But the whole country saw her face and the rest of her in 1961 when she won the role as suburban housewife Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, named for her comic co-star.

The sharply written series about the home and office life of a TV comedy writer gave Moore the opportunity to display a talent for comedy as well as her ability to sing and dance. She was an early role model for young women, playing a TV wife who stood up to her sometimes bungling husband. The series became a huge hit and ran until 1966 and is still shown in reruns.

Dick Van Dyke, left, and Mary Tyler Moore co-stars of The Dick Van Dyke Show pose backstage at the Palladium with the Emmys won in the Television Academys 16th annual awards show, May 25, 1964, Los Angeles, Calif.
Dick Van Dyke, left, and Mary Tyler Moore co-stars of The Dick Van Dyke Show pose backstage at the Palladium with the Emmys won in the Television Academys 16th annual awards show, May 25, 1964, Los Angeles, Calif.

Moore returned to television four years later, forming her own production company and starring in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She played a producer of a big city newscast. Critics loved the show, its ensemble cast of veteran comic actors, and for Moore's role as television's first smart and successful single woman, who did not have to rely on a husband or desired to have one.

The series was a Saturday night staple for seven years.

Her MTM Productions were also responsible for other commercial and critical television successes from the 1970s through the 1990s, including Hill Street Blues, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, and St. Elsewhere.

Moore won seven Emmy awards for television excellence and was nominated for an Oscar in 1980, playing an emotionally cold mother grieving for her suicidal son in the film Ordinary People.

Moore was also an advocate for animal rights and diabetes research, a disease from which she suffered.

Asked how she wold like to be remembered, Moore said, "As a good chum, as somebody who was happy most of the time and took great pride in making people laugh when I was able to pull that off.

FILE - Members of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" pose with their Emmys backstage at the 28th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, May 18, 1976. From left are, Ed Asner, Betty White, Moore and Ted Knight.
FILE - Members of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" pose with their Emmys backstage at the 28th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, May 18, 1976. From left are, Ed Asner, Betty White, Moore and Ted Knight.

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