Mary Tyler Moore passes away at age 80

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Mary Tyler Moore, who could "turn the world on with a smile” and became a trailblazer for women on network television, died today at age 80. Moore died after being hospitalized in Connecticut.

"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,” her publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said. "A groundbreaking actress, producer and passionate advocate of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile.”

The Brooklyn native shot to television fame when she appeared as Laura Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show,” but she became a superstar portraying local television news producer Mary Richards on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Moore won four Emmy Awards for her work on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which earned a total of 29 during its seven-year run. The show was developed by the production company MTM, which was formed by Moore and her then-husband, Grant Tinker.

Ed Asner, who played Moore’s boss Lou Grant, wrote on Twitter, "My heart goes out to you and your family. Know that I love you and believe in your

Beyond the show’s critical success, it made Moore an icon for women, praised for her portrayal of a single woman succeeding in an often-male- dominated industry and world.

MTM became the production house behind classic comedies such as "The Bob Newhart Show,” "Newhart” and "WKRP in Cincinnati,” along with the dramas “Hill Street Blues,” “The White Shadow,” which starred Howard as a high school basketball coach, and "St. Elsewhere.”

On the big screen, Moore earned an Oscar nomination for her role as a mother coping with the death of her son and attempted suicide of another in "Ordinary People.” She also appeared in films such as "Six Weeks” and "Flirting with Disaster.”

Moore was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 1970, and has been a vocal and visible advocate for people living with the disease. She has been the international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation since 1984 and has repeatedly testified before Congress in support of increased funding for diabetes research.

Moore received a Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2012. She was presented with the honor by her former TV husband, Dick Van Dyke.

"I love that woman,” Dyke said in presenting the award. "I know everybody loves her, but I mean, I’m serious about it, and I saw her first. I love her, I always have.

"We all met her when she was 23 years old — beautiful and bright and talented, and I said my now-famous line, `Do you think she can do comedy?’ And we all had a kind of a front-row seat watching Mary discover little by little what she was capable of, and as it turns out … she was Katherine Hepburn, she was Lucille Ball, she was Judy Garland, she was Ginger Rogers.

"She was one of the few performers, women, who could do a flat-out comedy scene, slapstick, and still be beautiful and feminine and adorable. She was one thing I’ve never told anybody. She is slightly psychic. She always knew what I was gonna do before I did it.”

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