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TV Loses Icon: Mary Tyler Moore Dies At 80

She changed television for women with daring – and famous – portrayals in the 1960s and 1970s.

marytylermoore-012517 Geekdom

She could have easily rested on her laurels as one of the stars of The Dick Van Dyke Show, but instead she revolutionized television for women.

And now the world must mourn and remember Mary Tyler Moore, who died Wednesday at 80.

Mara Buxbaum, who represented Moore over the years, shared the news in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.

“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 Tyler Moore was born Dec. 29, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of a housewife and a clerk. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 8, and by 17 she was dancing in commercials during television shows like Ozzie and Harriet.

She would get her first regular acting role in 1959 as a receptionist for Richard Diamond, Private Detective opposite the late David Janssen. She then did smaller roles during guest stints in a number of series, until she was cast as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1961.

In fact, Moore reportedly lied to producers about her age, so they wouldn’t think she was too young to play wife to a man who was 14 years her senior. The comedy series – which lasted until 1966 – also became the first where Moore would break down barriers for women. The biggest move on Dick Van Dyke was the insistence of her character to wear Capri pants instead of dresses like other housewives.

While such a move in 1961 might have turned people off, instead it created a new fashion craze of pants-wearing women.

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