Mary Tyler Moore, best known for her pioneering 1970s TV show, has died aged 80.
According to Variety, a statement from the actress’s long-time publicist confirmed that the star died in Connecticut on Wednesday in the company of friends and her husband of more than 30 years.
Although she earned an Oscar nomination for her role in Robert Redford’s award-winning 1980 drama Ordinary People, Moore was best known for her work on the small screen, both behind and in front of the cameras.
She broke into television via commercials in the 1950s and went on to guest on shows such as 77 Sunset Strip and Wanted: Dead Or Alive. Her breakthrough came in 1961 when Moore was cast opposite Dick Van Dyke in the sitcom which bore his name. Playing his wife, she more than held her own against her male star, winning her first Emmy in 1964 and another two years later.
After The Dick Van Dyke Show finished in1966, she enjoyed even greater success with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which was co-created by James L Brooks (Terms Of Endearment, The Simpsons) and earned her three more Emmys, plus a Golden Globe.
The series is now regarded as one of the most influential US sitcoms of all time in that Moore’s central character was an independent career woman who never married – at the time, a first for US television. It also kickstarted MTM Enterprises, which Moore established with her then husband Grant Tinker and which went on to become one of the most successful production houses of the ‘70s and ‘80s. As well as Mary Tyler Moore spin-offs such as Lou Grant and Rhoda, MTM also produced hits such as Hill Street Blues, WKRP In Cincinatti, Remington Steele and St Elsewhere.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended in 1977 and although she never enjoyed the same level of success again in front of the cameras, her acclaimed performance in Ordinary People allowed her to move away from comedy into drama. Moore went on to win another Emmy for her performance in the mini-series Stolen Babies (1993).
On the big screen, as well as Normal People, other highlights include the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) and David O Russell’s indie hit Flirting With Disaster (1996).