Mary Tyler Moore dies at 80

Photo: Rogers & Cowan / Wikimedia Commons
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NEW YORK (NBC)-- A pop-culture icon who became a torch bearer for the changing perception of women in television, Mary Tyler Moore died Wednesday in a Connecticut hospital. She was 80.

"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," said her longtime representative Mara Buxbaum. "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 had long suffered from diabetes.

Moore became known for two beloved characters that spurned the traditional view of a women's roles in the home or the workforce, inspiring a generation along the way.

Moore's first big career break came when she portrayed Laura Petrie, a mother who refused to play second fiddle to her husband, on the Dick van Dyke Show in 1961. Later, because of her growing popularity, Moore got her own eponymous show in 1970 in which she played the role of Mary Richards, a tough single woman working her way through a Minneapolis TV station.

In its seven years on CBS, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" won 29 Emmys, a total that has only been surpassed by "Saturday Night Live," "Frasier" and "Game of Thrones."