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Mary Tyler Moore, TV Pioneer and Broadway Barks Cofounder, Has Died

Moore received multiple Emmy Awards for her performances on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Mary Tyler Moore has died at the age of 80.
(© Joseph Marzullo)

Mary Tyler Moore, one of the pioneers of television and a cofounder of the organization Broadway Barks, has died at the age of 80.

Born December 29, 1936, in Brooklyn Heights, Moore was the eldest of three siblings, the children of Marjorie and George Tyler Moore. The family moved to Los Angeles when Moore was 8 years old. Her career kicked off when she starred as a dancing elf in a series of "Happy Hotpoint" television commercials that aired during the 1950s series Ozzie and Harriet. Her first regular role was as a receptionist on the series Richard Diamond, Private Detective. She made appearances on several other shows, including The O'Mara Ladies and The Tab Hunter Show.

Her major television projects were The Dick Van Dyke Show, which ran 1961-1966, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which ran 1970-1977. On the former series, which was inspired by Carl Reiner's career as a writer on Your Show of Shows, she was cast as Laura Petrie, the wife of Dick Van Dyke's character, comedy writer Rob Petrie. On her own show, she played Mary Richards, a single woman who moves to Minneapolis after being jilted by her boyfriend and takes a job as an associate producer on a news program. Moore won a pair of Emmys for her work on The Dick Van Dyke Show and four of the statues for her own show. She also won an Emmy for the television film Stolen Babies. She was nominated for an Oscar for the film Ordinary People.

Moore received a special Tony Award for her performance in the 1980 drama Whose Life Is It Anyway?, and also appeared on Broadway in Sweet Sue. She starred in the out-of-town tryout of a musical version of Breakfast at Tiffany's, which closed in previews on Broadway. She appeared in previews of Neil Simon's play Rose's Dilemma off-Broadway but quit the production after butting heads with the playwright. With her production company, MTM Enterprises, she helped produce several plays on Broadway, including Noises Off and Joe Egg.

A major believer in charity work, Moore is the cofounder, with Bernadette Peters, of Broadway Barks, a yearly animal adopt-a-thon held in Shubert Alley, working to help promote animal adoption and making New York a no-kill city. She was the International Chairperson of JDRF, an organization dedicated to funding research for type 1 diabetes.

Moore is predeceased by her only child, Richard, who died in 1980 at the age of 24. She is survived by her third husband, Dr. Robert Levine, whom she married in 1983.