The woman who could turn the world on with her smile has passed away. A representative for the actress confirmed the sad news to People, stating,
“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. A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile.”
Mary is survived by her loving friends and husband Robert Levine.
The six-time Emmy winner suffered greatly over the years from a variety of ailments linked to Type 1 diabetes. The actress was diagnosed with the disease when she was just 33 years old. In 2015, her former co-star Dick Van Dyke told late night host Larry King that, “diabetes has taken a toll on her; she’s not well at all.”
The Brooklyn native became a household name in the 1960s after landing a starring role on the Dick Van Dyke Show. Mary’s girl-next-door charm and comedic chops inspired her very own sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. After its premiere in 1970, the series captured three Golden Globes and a staggering 29 Emmys before signing off in 1977.
The role of Mary Richards was revolutionary, notes Jaime Weinman for Maclean's, adding, "[The Mary Tyler Moore Show] was a series that spent seven years following a single working woman in her 30s, who works hard at her job, gets a raise and a promotion, and does not feel like she’s a failure because she’s not married and has no children." Futhermore, "she had that special ability that only the best TV stars have: the ability to make us think of her as an intimate friend, even though we don’t actually know her."