Mary Tyler Moore, whose career can be traced back to the 1960s and whose TV roles helped begin a new era for women in American television, has passed away at the age of 80. According to Vanity Fair, Moore’s death was confirmed by her spokesperson Mara Buxbaum, who said she died of cardiopulmonary arrest after she contracted pneumonia. Moore had been battling health problems for some time now, and her “grave condition” was reported by TMZ a week before she passed away. According to Buxbaum:
- She passed away in the company of family and friends
- She will be remembered as a groundbreaking actress and producer
- She will be remembered by those who loved her as a fearless visionary
Soon after the news of her passing broke out, thousands of people, especially women who grew up with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, took to social media to express their condolences as well as the impact that Moore had on their lives. “Mary Tyler Moore changed the world for all women. I send my love to her family,” tweeted Ellen DeGeneres.
She’s mostly known for her iconic roles in The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Here are 16 facts about Mary Tyler Moore that you should know:
1. When she first entered the show business, she wanted to be a dancer. At age 17, she appeared in a commercial for Hotpoint appliances where she played Happy Hotpoint, a tiny dancing elf. She reportedly appeared in 39 Hotpoint commercials in only five days, and received close to $6,000 for her work (which would be the equivalent of roughly $50,000 today).
2. For her first recurring TV role, only her legs appeared on the screen. She played a mysterious telephone receptionist on Richard Diamond, Private Detective, where only her voice could be heard and only her legs appeared on camera. Soon after her first role, she began to appear in various secondary roles in a few NBC shows including Johnny Staccato, Overland Trail and The Tab Hunter Show.
3. She anonymously appeared on numerous LP covers including Raoul Martinez: Cha, Cha, Cha, Lew Raymond: Million Settlers, Steve Phillips: Organ Favorites, Miguelito Valdez!: Latin Rhythms and Nestor Amaral: Favorites from Italy.
4. She first auditioned for the Danny Thomas series Make Room for Daddy before landing her iconic role in The Dick Van Dyke Show. She didn’t get cast in Thomas’ show, but he reportedly recommended her to Van Dyke by remembering her as “the girl with three names.”