The vivacious, well-coiffed Mary Tyler Moore was a giant of the television sitcom, playing characters who powerfully symbolized the changing role of women in America.
In the 1960s, before "women's lib" changed the cultural mind-set, Moore played Dick Van Dyke's cheerful and attentive wife, Laura Petrie, on the popular series "The Dick Van Dyke Show." In 1970, a more-modern Moore was transformed into a gung-ho career woman in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Her role as naive but hardworking TV producer Mary Richards, employed in a wacky Minneapolis newsroom, had her handling endless frustrations with her cynical boss, played by Ed Asner — a dynamic that made the show one of the most appealing of its era.
Upon winning an Emmy Award for her work as Laura Petrie, a tearful Moore exclaimed, "I know this will never happen again!" It proved untrue — she would go on to win a total of five Emmy Awards and also earn a best actress Oscar nomination for her part in the 1980 drama "Ordinary People."
For a time, Moore was one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. She and her then-husband, Grant Tinker, launched an independent production company, MTM Enterprises, in 1969 and ran it until they sold it in 1990.
Although born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1936, Moore moved to Los Angeles as a child and trained to be a dancer. Moore suffered a wrenching personal tragedy in 1980 when her adult son Richie accidentally shot himself to death with a sawed-off shotgun. Moore was an acknowledged alcoholic and well-known diabetic who worked to raise awareness about the disease.
Moore died Jan. 25, 2017, of cardiopulmonary arrest at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Conn. She was 80.
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