Award winning actress Mary Tyler Moore has died, surrounded by loved ones, at the age of 80. The icon’s publicist Mara Buxbaum has confirmed in a statement that Mary died while in the company of friends and her husband Dr S Robert Levine, who she had been married to for 33 years.

She said that Mary would be remembered a an actress and producer, as well as for her work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The actress shot to fame in the Sixties, playing Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. She was reported to be in a serious condition a week ago and has been on a respirator in hospital since then. She had suffered from a number of health problems in recent years.

Raft of awards

The talented actress has scooped a number of Emmy awards as well as being nominated for an Oscar for her stunning portrayal of a mother whose son is killed, in the movie Ordinary People. She had battled Type 1 diabetes since being diagnosed with the condition in 1966 when she 33.

She went on to play Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore programme, which ran during the Seventies. It was a groundbreaking role at the time, given that she was portraying a strong, single and ambitious career woman at work in a busy TV newsroom in Minneapolis. At the time, there were few other female roles of such a nature on the small or the large screen.

She played a strong woman, who was happy to be on her own in her thirties, who was not desperate to settle down. Mary was renowned for her wide smile, which was said to light up any room.

Born in Brooklyn, she moved with her family to California when she was eight. At the age of 17, she gained her first ever screen role, playing a tiny dancing elf in a commercial.

Published by Elizabeth

A journalist from the South West of England, Elizabeth specialises in writing about politics, health and technology.