Mary Tyler Moore, the Emmy-winning sitcom star and Oscar-nominated actress best known for her role in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the 1980 movie Ordinary People, died on Wednesday in Connecticut. Moore’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, confirmed the star’s death to the Associated Press. “Today, beloved icon Mary Tyler Moore passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine,” Buxbaum said in a statement. The cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest due to pneumonia, according to The New York Times.
“Mary Tyler Moore was a once-in-a-generation talent,” CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves 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.”
“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,” added Lena Dunham. “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.”
“My heart goes out to you and your family,” Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Ed Asner wrote. “Know that I love you and believe in your strength.”
Moore was born December 29th, 1936 in Brooklyn, moving to Los Angeles at the age of eight. After dancing for commercials for Hotpoint kitchen appliances, she started picking up minor television roles and landed a big break when Carl Reiner cast her in The Dick Van Dyke show as the wife of Van Dyke’s Rob Petrie in 1961. She won a pair of Emmys for the role in 1964 and 1966.
In 1970, Moore started her run as Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show on CBS, which ran until 1977. The series, created by James Brooks and Allan Burns, was a hit, pulling in 29 Emmy awards total during the course of its existence and spawning three spin-offs. The sitcom earned praise as one of the first to star a self-reliant, unmarried woman, and Moore took home three more Emmy’s for her acting.
Moore cultivated a parallel career on the big screen, appearing in films like Thoroughly Modern Millie and Change of Habit, where she acted opposite Elvis Presley. Her best-known movie role was in 1980’s Ordinary People, where she played a mother whose son dies. The movie received six Oscar nominations, and Moore was nominated for Best Actress. She also won a Golden Globe for the role.
Though her subsequent attempts to start new television series did not match the success of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Moore continued to work. She won a Tony in 1980 for her portrayal of a quadriplegic in Whose Life Is It, Anyway? And she took home her final Emmy in 1993 for her work in the TV movie Stolen Babies.
In 1995, Moore published her first memoir, in which she discussed her struggles with alcoholism. Another memoir, which came out in 2009, focused more on Moore’s battle with diabetes. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the 1960s.
Moore’s most recent film appearance was in Against the Current in 2009. She also made cameos on the show Hot in Cleveland in 2011 and 2013, reuniting with her old Mary Tyler Moore Show cast members Betty White and Georgia Engel.
Moore is survived by her third husband, Dr. Robert Levine. They married in 1983.
This story is developing.