On January 25th, the world collectively mourned the loss of a strong woman and show business icon, Mary Tyler Moore. Best known for her roles on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Moore revolutionized what it meant to be a woman on TV. With every character, she strived to represent real women, not the image of them created/imagined by men. Even with something as simple as wearing pants, Moore reshaped viewer’s concept of femininity and initiated a shift away from the domestic bubble female characters are often confined to.
Her work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show was particularly inspirational to many women because it featured a female protagonist exploring herself and the world around her without the overreaching presence of a male counterpart. At a time when more and more women were seeking to begin careers of their own, but were often discouraged by patriarchal foundations, watching a working woman living on her own and achieving success in a male-dominated industry was groundbreaking. In addition to having a female-driven narrative, the show also tackled many of the feminist issues we’re still championing today, such as the fight for equal pay and respect for a woman’s sexual freedom.
Outside of her work in television and film, throughout her life, Moore was a strong presence in many social justice and advocacy groups. Suffering from diabetes herself, she was the International Chairman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for many years, raising funds and awareness for the disease. She was also an avid animal rights activist, offering public support to organizations such as the ASPCA and Farm Sanctuary, as well as founding her own pet-adoption event in New York City. Other involvements include the NAACP, the Trevor Project and the Special Olympics.
Her kind heart and brilliant mind will be sorely missed, but her legacy will never be forgotten.
“You truly have to make the very best of what you’ve got. We all do.” — Mary Tyler Moore