Mary Tyler Moore: A Legacy Beyond Comedy

The iconic actress and TV pioneer dies of pneumonia at age 80

Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke Courtesy: Getty Images/CBS

She could turn the world on with her smile, but today for many she is remembered with a tear in their eye.

Mary Tyler Moore of The Mary Tyler Moore Show died Wednesday, according to her publicist, Mara Buxbaum. She was 80 years old.

Moore gained her fame in the 1960s playing Dick Van Dyke’s wife, Laura Petrie, on The Dick Van Dyke show. But the role that made her a household name, and inspired women all over the world to be more than just wives, was as the perky, and hilarious Mary Richards.

Richards was a new producer, in a time when women were only just beginning to be taken seriously in the workforce.

The show aired for seven seasons between 1970-1977.

Moore’s death, at Greenwich Hospital,  was confirmed by her family. The cause was pneumonia. She was taken off of a respirator Tuesday evening.

Moore could sing, she could dance, and she could make audiences laugh. She was the full package, and her unbound talent impressed both her audiences and her co-stars.

“We thought we were the best dance team since Astaire and Rogers and we thought we were the best comedy team since Laurel and Hardy,” Dick Van Dyke.

Her co-star and lifelong friend Dick Van Dyke told CBS This Morning: “We thought we were the best dance team since Astaire and Rogers and we thought we were the best comedy team since Laurel and Hardy.”

Van Dyke and Moore worked together for five years. Their chemistry, and mutual penchant for comedic timing made them sensations.

“We brought romance to comedy, and, yes, Rob and Laura had sex!” Moore said of her and Van Dyke in a 2004 TV Guide interview.

Moore was on the front lines when it came to revolutionizing and humanizing women’s portrayals on television. Laura Petrie’s flustered exterior redefined the housewife. More importantly Moore and her character Mary Richards inspired women all over the world to pursue careers in acting, comedy, journalism and beyond.

Even Michelle Obama was inspired by her. Obama told Variety Magazine in August 2016, “She was one of the few single working women depicted on television,” when the future First Lady and Harvard educated lawyer was growing up.

Ed Asner, her co-star who play Mary Richards gruff boss Lou Grant told USA TODAY, “I loved her. The world loved her — and it should have.”

“I love her. The world loved her – and it should have,” Ed Asner

The Mary Tyler Moore Show Courtesy: CBS

Many in the media  agree that Moore was an exceptional talent. With the New York Times declaring that she was the “actress who incarnated the modern woman on TV.”

An Outpouring of Admiration and Grief:

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India McAlister is a badass feminist writer, who has previously written for various publications at the University of Toronto. She has experience in public relations, speech writing and SEO strategies. India has covered topics ranging from NXNE festival coverage, gender politics and medical innovation. She is interested in broadening her scope, and is currently pursuing her postgrad in New Media at Sheridan College