Mary Tyler Moore, TV's First Modern Woman, Has Passed Away

Mary Tyler Moore, TV's First Modern Woman, Has Passed Away

The actress was 80 years old.

The actress was 80 years old.

Text: Ian David Monroe

Mary Tyler Moore, who first embodied the modern woman on television, has passed away at 80. The actress died in Greenwich, Connecticut in the company of her friends and husband, Dr. S. Robert Levine, after being hospitalized for cardiopulmonary arrest and pneumonia.

Moore was best known for her roles in The Dick Van Dyke Show, where she played a former dancer and homemaker, and then in the eponymous The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where she starred as a local news producer in Minneapolis. Moore's character was unmarried, unengaged, and entirely unapologetic—a rarity in '70s mainstream, but concurrent with a time of increasing sexual liberation, second-wave feminism, and the emergence of women's rights activists like Gloria Steinem. Whether intended or not, Moore became an on-screen poster child for the modern woman, a feminist icon.

Her passing comes only days after the Women's March (January 21), a global rally in support of women everywhere, and what is likely the United States' greatest protest in history. Given the actress's political leanings and beliefs up until her passing, it's unclear whether she would have attended the march, but it doesn't matter. Her television legacy has trailblazed roles for women, roles that weren't dependent on male counterparts. For that, she should be remembered. For her charm, beauty, and humor, she will never be forgotten.

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