Mary Tyler Moore, The Iconic Actress Who Was A Trailblazer For Independent Women, Dies At 80

The feminist rockstar of 1970s TV.

She could turn the world on with her smile.

Mary Tyler Moore passed away Wednesday at a hospital in Greenwich, Conn., at the age of 80 after a long battle with Type 1 diabetes.

The iconic actress was a trailblazer on TV, starring in the hit 1970s comedy named after her, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The newly single young woman working in a Minneapolis TV newsroom — who Moore played — was considered a cultural and feminist milestone, according to The Washington Post. It was an unprecedented role for a woman in TV at that time, and the show lasted for seven seasons on CBS.

One of her biggest fans is former First Lady Michelle Obama, who recently told Variety how the show significantly influenced her as a young woman. 

"She was one of the few single working women depicted on television at that time," Obama said about the show she watched with her family when she was just 10 years old. "She wasn't married. She wasn't looking to get married. At no point did the series end in a happy ending with her finding a husband — which seemed to be the course you had to take as a woman. But she sort of bucked that. She worked in a newsroom, she had a tough boss, and she stood up to him. She had close friends, never bemoaning the fact that she was single. She was very proud and comfortable in that role." 

Moore's self-titled show wasn't her first go-round with the small screen. She played the homemaker Laure Petrie for five seasons on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s.

The award-winning star also owned the production company MTM Enterprises, which was behind groundbreaking 1970s and 1980s shows such as Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere.

Moore, like her mother, struggled with alcohol abuse, and had a stint at the Betty Ford alcohol and drug treatment center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., in the early 1980s.  

She later went on to write two memoirs and became a spokeswoman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Moore was 33 years old when she was diagnosed with diabetes. She told People in 2009, "I thought I'd have to recline on a chaise the rest of my life." Fortunately, that was not the case, though in 2011, she underwent brain surgery to remove a benign tumor from the lining tissue around her brain.

Moore was also a tireless activist for animals.

The Brooklyn-born actress, who was beloved by many, passed away in the company of friends and her husband of more than 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine. Among other things, she will be remembered as a fearless woman, who was a genius with comedic timing.

Many took to Twitter to share their admiration for Moore, including former co-stars and women who were inspired by her:

Cover image: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock, Inc.

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