Known for turning the world on with her smile, Mary Tyler Moore showcased a bubbly personality, brilliant smile and positive attitude in the well-loved TV characters she played. Her own personal life wasn’t always so cheery, but no less inspiring. After recently celebrating her 80th birthday in December, she died January 25, leaving a great legacy behind.
The multiple Emmy-winning star was known for her roles as the young single professional Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the spunky housewife Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
Playing the perfect, American-dream, motherly role in “The Dick Van Dyke Show” could not be more different from what she experienced in real life. Moore’s parents were both alcoholics and, as Moore said, imperfect parents. She outlived both her younger sister and brother.
Moore experienced much heartbreak throughout her life. Her son (and only child), who she had with her first husband Richard Carleton Meeker, died from an accidental gunshot to the head. After Moore’s marriage with Meeker fell apart, she married Grant Tinker. Her second marriage quickly dissolved after her son’s tragic death. She is survived by her third husband, Robert Levine.
Despite all she’s been through, Moore was a role model who was an inspiration to women. She was an international spokeswoman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and an animal rights activist.
Dare to dream
No dream was too big for Moore. Despite her hardships, she barreled through life with confidence she could succeed.
“I gave up college to learn to become a star,” she said. “I don’t just hope for it. I work for it. I expect it.”
Moore knew who she wanted to be and then worked to make it happen.
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” theme song says, “Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Well it’s you girl, and you should know it.”
Fans will remember her famous pose of throwing her hat in the air as her theme song said, “You’re gonna make it after all.” That line evokes hope that no matter what comes your way, you can do it.
Although life threw many challenges at Moore, she took them with a smile on her face and a bounce in her step. She will always be remembered as the woman who could turn the world on with her smile.