Hollywood Reacts to Mary Tyler Moore's Death

CBS/Photofest
'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'

"She turned the world on with her smile."

Mary Tyler Moore, star of The Dick Van Dyke Show and her eponymous ’70s sitcom has died, her publicist confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. She was 80.

Moore started on The Dick Van Dyke Show at age 23 (she was 11 years younger than her male co-star). She went on to win Emmys in 1964 and 1966, and the show collected 15 trophies in all. 

In 1970, Moore and her second husband, Grant Tinker, pitched The Mary Tyler Moore Show to CBS. The premise of the single woman, alternating between work and home, would become a TV staple, going on to win a then-record 29 Emmys. The sitcom anchored CBS' Saturday night lineup that also included All in the Family, M*A*S*H and The Carol Burnett Show.

“Mary Tyler Moore was a once-in-a-generation talent," Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "She will be long remembered as a gifted actress, television pioneer and a role model to so many. CBS has lost one of the very best to ever grace our airwaves and our industry has lost a true legend and friend.”

Moore also starred on the big screen in such movies as X-15 (1961), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), What's So Bad About Feeling Good? (1968), Don’t Just Stand There! (1968), Change of Habit (1969), Six Weeks (1982) and Just Between Friends (1986). In more recent years, the actress was seen on television in guest-starring roles on That '70s Show, Lipstick Jungle and Hot in Cleveland

Rose Marie said of her Dick Van Dyke Show costar, "We had some remarkable and unforgettable experiences together on The Dick Van Dyke Show. We were able to grow closer over the years and eventually became dear friends. We kept in touch until the very end. I shall miss her, very much."

"Mary Tyler Moore's humor, style and vulnerability have had a profound influence on me as a television creator and on every woman I know working in television to upend expectations of traditional femininity," Girls star and creator Lena Dunham, creator, writer and star of the HBO series Girls, said in a statement. "Her remarkable presence and ahead of her time ability to expose the condition of single working womanhood with humor and pathos will never be forgotten. Her generosity as an animal rights activist and icon will never be forgotten. I never met her and I'll love her forever. I know I'm one of millions."

Shonda Rhimes paid tribute to the actress she grew up watching, saying, “Reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show sustained me as a teenager. The woman who threw her hat all the way up in the air was a independent woman who loved her job, didn't need a husband to define her value, lived alone. Mary the character was fierce -- she was everything. That show had three successful spinoffs. When I found out that Mary the person had her own TV company MTM Enterprises, I stopped simply admiring her and I starting wanting to be her. She changed what I thought was possible for a woman on TV." 

Actress Michael Learned remembered her neighbor and friend in a statement: "We were neighbors in the San Remo for 10 years in New York. She was my lunch buddy and I loved her. My condolences to Robert."

Ronald L. Schwary, producer of Ordinary People, remembered the talented actress: "In my 50-year career in the film and television industry, I have been blessed to work with many talented actors, but few that compare to the talent of Mary Tyler Moore. Ordinary People changed my life and her performance was a huge reason for that. I am forever grateful for her kindness, her professionalism, and friendship. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this difficult time."

Jenni Konner, showrunner of HBO's Girls, added: "Whenever a young writer asks me for advice about pilots, I tell them to watch Mary Tyler Moore. It will show you everything you need to know about three dimensional character and graceful exposition. But it will also show you an actor who was at once a comic genius and the most grounded of performers. And boy, could she dance. What a huge loss but how lucky we were to have her and see her grow and change from Ordinary People to Flirting with Disaster. She never rested on her America's Sweetheart laurels, though that certainly would've been enough. Thank you Mary, for making GIrls and basically everything I love on TV possible."

Robert Redford, who directed Moore in the Oscar-winning 1980 drama Ordinary People, told The Hollywood Reporter: "Mary's energy, spirit and talent created a new bright spot in the television landscape and she will be very much missed. The courage she displayed in taking on a role darker than anything she had ever done was brave and enormously powerful."

George Segal, who played Moore's husband in the 1996 comedy Flirting with Disaster, said, “I'm so sad to hear that she died. She was a great trouper and a great comedienne."

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris remembered the actress: “Mary was a television legend, but more than that, in her most iconic role she was both an agent of change as well as a reflection of our changing society. At a time when independence for women was not the social norm, both the fictional Mary and the real-life Mary set an example, showing that women could take control of their lives and their careers. She will be dearly missed."

Rose Marie, the 93-year-old actress who, from 1961 through 1966, co-starred with Moore on The Dick Van Dyke Show as TV comedy writer Sally Rogers, was devastated to learn the news.

"She was wonderful. She came to us as a complete novice, but she learned so quickly and she became one of the best," Marie told THR through tears. "She used to tell me that she was learning a lot from Morey [Amsterdam, another star of the show] and me about comedy and timing and everything. We would tease her. We were very happy and had a lot of fun together on that show. We were very close when we were working together — we were like a family. I remember when she came into rehearsal and said, 'I’m gonna have a show of my own one day and it’s gonna be called Mary Tyler Moore and I’m gonna have a kitty cat,' and we all laughed and said, 'Let’s hope that this show is a success first.' The last time I saw her, I think, was when we did that reunion [several years ago], but I kept in touch with her — we talked every once in a while up until about four or five months ago, when she didn’t answer the phone. She was very sick. Dick would call me and tell me that she wasn’t doing well. I will miss her greatly."

Oprah Winfrey said of Moore in a statement: "Mary Tyler Moore majorly influenced my life and career. I respected and admired her business acumen, her passion and compassion for all life, and most importantly, the values espoused through her storytelling. I thank her for being a light that shined so brightly, it let me see myself in her.”

The six-time Emmy Award winner had elective surgery in May 2012 to remove what is known as a meningioma, a benign tumor of the lining tissue of the brain.

As news of her death spread on Wednesday, tributes flooded in from Hollywood via social media. See the posts below. 

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