Mary Tyler Moore, whose showbiz career began as Happy the Hotpoint Elf in the early '50s and went on to help define quality entertainment on TV in the '60s and '70s, has died of complications from pneumonia. She had just turned 80 last month.
Earlier, TMZ had broken the news that Moore was on her deathbed at a Connecticut hospital.
Moore's death was confirmed in a statement to Extra:
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.
Moore's biggest early break came mostly off-screen, playing sultry Sam on Richard Diamond, Private Detective (1957—1960), a role she held in 1959, and which required only her killer legs and suggestive voice — she was never seen.
Along with many early-TV guest spots, Moore moved on to the role of Laura Petrie on the classic The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961—1966). Embodying pluck, a fresh face on traditional femininity and comic chops that kept up with veterans like Van Dyke, Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie, Moore became America's sweetheart, and made bank, allowing her to move forward in the future as a woman calling the shots.
Though hard to believe comparing the style and subject matter of the two shows, it was only four years later that her The Mary Tyler Moore Show aka Mary Tyler Moore debuted.