As the news spread that Mary Tyler Moore had died at 80, Hollywood stepped up to honor the woman who could light up the world with her famous smile. From co-star Ed Asner, whose character grumpily labeled her as spunky, to talk show host Oprah Winfrey, the actress is being remembered for her legacy both on and off the TV screen.
Oprah Winfrey broke down in honoring the talented star, reflecting on what she meant to her throughout her life, reported People.
Changing the perception of a single career woman determined to “make it on her own” in her sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the actress inspired an entire generation of women, and one of those was Winfrey.
“Mary Tyler Moore majorly influenced my life and career.”
Oprah praised the actress for her “business acumen, her passion and compassion for all life. But most of all,” emphasized Winfrey, she desired to honor “the values espoused through her storytelling.”
Like many others were moved to do, Oprah turned to Twitter to express her emotions about the loss of a legend.
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. pic.twitter.com/6u4ELq27vN— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) January 25, 2017
Winfrey also praised Mary as a “role model” for “young, single women in the workforce,” reported ET. Oprah shared that her sitcom made a difference in its story lines about a woman who paved her own path rather than relying on a man.
“Every episode wasn’t about trying to find a man, it was about trying to find your way in life.”
Reflecting on the actress’ legacy, Winfrey predicted that it “will live on in ways I know the creators of [The Mary Tyler Moore Show] never even imagined.”
Oprah recalled being surprised by the actress on her talk show, admitting that she came up with the term “ugly cry” as she “went into double, triple overtime ugly cry.” Winfrey even vowed that she “never again” wanted to be surprised on the Oprah show, although she admitted that the shock “made the moment even better.”
Many other celebrities sought to express their emotions about the loss of the woman who could turn the world on with her smile, reported USA Today.
Ed Asner, who played cranky Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, reflected on his love for his co-star.
“I lost a great friend, teacher, a great benefactor, all of whom I loved,” said Asner.
Cloris Leachman revealed that the last time she saw the actress was for the Hot In Cleveland reunion.
“She was America’s sweetheart….If I could see her one last time I’d hold her in my arms and say, ‘We love you.’”
Many women in the media turned to Twitter to express their respect and love, including Katie Couric.
“So devastated…,” tweeted Couric. “She really did turn the world on with her smile and yes Lou Grant, her spunk.”
But while many honored the actress for her sitcom, actor Robert Redford reflected on her “darker” work in the film Ordinary People, reported ET.
Redford praised Moore for her “courage she displayed in taking on a role [Ordinary People] darker than anything she had ever done,” calling her decision to portray that character “brave and enormously powerful.” Robert also expressed his admiration for her contributions to television.
“Mary’s energy, spirit and talent created a new bright spot in the television landscape and she will be very much missed,” added Redford.
After working with the actress on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dick sought to express his emotions about the loss of his co-star and friend.
“There are no words. She was THE BEST!” tweeted Van Dyke. “We always said that we changed each other’s lives for the better.”
It was on The Dick Van Dyke Show that the then-23-year-old actress was given her first big break, noted the Hollywood Reporter.
“Just to watch her grow was such a thrill for me,” recalled Van Dyke.
“She left an imprint on television comedy.”
Cast to play Dick’s wife Laura on The Dick Van Dyke Show, the actress was “gorgeous,” said the now-91-year-old Van Dyke, paying tribute to a woman who had been his friend for six decades.
“My first question was, ‘Can this girl do comedy? After that I said, “She’s a little young for me,’” recalled Dick.
But the decision to go with the woman who became “just the best” resulted in a sitcom that became “the best five years of my life,” admitted Van Dyke.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]