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Hollywood Reacts to Mary Tyler Moore’s Death

Variety logo Variety 1/25/2017 Seth Kelley

Hollywood paid tribute to Mary Tyler Moore on Wednesday, soon after news of her death was announced.

The TV icon, known for “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and her own “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died Wednesday at 80 years old.

Cloris Leachman, who played Phyllis Lindstrom in “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spinoff, “Phyllis,” issues a written statement dedicated to Moore.

“My heart goes out to her husband, Robert — he was never more than a touch away from her,” Leachman wrote. “The picture that we all have of her, that’s how she was — sweet, kind, so tender, so delicate. She was America’s sweetheart. Valerie and I always had to rehearse and rehearse, to work things through but Mary was always ready to go, thoroughly prepared. The last time I saw her was our ‘Hot In Cleveland’ reunion. I had a feeling I wouldn’t see her again. If I could see her one last time I’d hold her in my arms and say, ‘We love you.'”

Ed Asner, who played Moore’s boss in the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” was one of the first share his love for the actress. “My heart goes out to you and your family,” he wrote. “Know that I love you and believe in your strength.”

In Variety‘s August 2016 cover story with Michelle Obama, the then-first lady said that the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” greatly influenced her growing up.

“She was one of the few single working women depicted on television at the time,” Obama said. “I was probably 10 or 11 when I saw that, and sort of started thinking, ‘You know what? Marriage is an option. Having a family is an option. And going to school and getting your education and building your career is another really viable option that can lead to happiness and fulfillment.'”

Robert Redford, who worked with Moore on “Ordinary People,” for which she was nominated for an Oscar, said in a statement, “Mary’s energy, spirit and talent created a new bright spot in the television landscape and she will be very much missed. The courage she displayed in taking on a role, (‘Ordinary People’), darker than anything she had ever done, was brave and enormously powerful.”

Georgia Engel, who played Georgette on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” said in a statement, “She was my beloved friend, I loved her very much. She helped launch my career. She will be missed greatly.”

Oprah Winfrey, who was famously brought to tears after Moore surprised her on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on 1997, tweeted a photo from the episode, along with the caption, “Even now looking at this picture I want to cry. I still can’t believe Mary Tyler Moore touched my face. Will love her 4 ever.”

She later released a statement, writing “Mary Tyler Moore majorly influenced my life and career. I respected and admired her business acumen, her passion, and compassion for all life, and most importantly, the values espoused through her storytelling. I thank her for being a light that shined so brightly, it let me see myself in her.”

Michael Keaton wrote, “Mary was a gem. She was iconic, my boss, cast mate and a friend and I will miss her.”

Ellen DeGeneres wrote, “Mary Tyler Moore changed the world for all women. I send my love to her family.”

George Takei referenced Moore’s signature grin in a tweet: “She turned the world on with her smile,” he wrote. “RIP, Mary Tyler Moore. You were a role model in so many ways.”

Viola Davis wrote, “Thanks for the first real image of a woman being independent, funny and vulnerable. Thank you for changing the face of TV.”

Denis Leary paid tribute by tweeting a quote: “You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”

Josh Gad responded by writing, “That shift in the Earth you just felt? That crater that is left behind? That is the legacy of the incomparable Mary Tyler Moore. RIP 2 an icon.”

“Parks and Recreation” star Jim O’Heir posted a photo of himself with Moore. “Damn. This one hurts,” he wrote.

“Oh Mary Tyler Moore. You were true inspiration, and power when I didn’t know what that was,” wrote Connie Britton. “Thank you.”

Sandra Bernhard wrote, “Oh no please tell me it’s not true. I love you Mary Tyler Moore. You inspired a generation of smart women.”

Selma Blair posted a photo and wrote, “What an angel. Always was and will be. A great part of my childhood and so many people’s lives.”

Kelly Ripa tweeted, “So sad to learn of the passing of Mary Tyler Moore.”

“Mary Tyler Moore’s work as an actor and producer was astonishing!” wrote Gates McFadden. “I grew up with her shows and her brilliant example as an artist!”

“Who could turn the world on with her smile… who could take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile,” Hoda Kotb tweeted, quoting the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” theme “Love Is All Around.”

“It was my honor to have met you, and working with you when you graced us on ‘That ’70s Show’ [is] a memory I will carry forever,” wrote Wilmer Valderrama.

Stephen Fry shared a picture of a plaque dedicated to Moore’s show. “Rehearsing on the Mary Tyler Moore stage today,” he wrote. “A minute’s silence as we remembered 1 of the true greats of TV comedy.”

Britney Spears wrote, So strong, so courageous and so beautiful. Rest In Peace, Mary Tyler Moore.”

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris reflected on the impact of Moore’s work.

“Mary was a television legend, but more than that, in her most iconic role she was both an agent of change as well as a reflection of our changing society. At a time when independence for women was not the social norm, both the fictional Mary and the real-life Mary set an example, showing that women could take control of their lives and their careers,” Carteris said. “She will be dearly missed.”

Mary Tyler Moore died aged 80. © Variety Mary Tyler Moore died aged 80.

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