‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’: How Did Mary Tyler Moore Die?

Mary Tyler Moore is one of the most iconic women on television. While fans know her best for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she got her start playing Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Sadly for fans, she died back in 2017. So, how did Moore die? Here’s what we know.

How did Mary Tyler Moore from ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ die?

Mary Tyler Moore from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' standing on stage getting ready to speak with a microphone in hand
Mary Tyler Moore from ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Moore got her start in show business early. She was born in 1936, and by high school, she moved to Los Angeles with her family and promoted home appliances as a dancing elf in the ’50s, Biography reports. In 1959, Moore got her start with TV, and 1961 gave her her first film debut with the aviation movie, X-15.

1961 proved to be a major year for Moore, as she began her time with The Dick Van Dyke Show. And it was in the ’70s when The Mary Tyler Moore Show took off. Moore starred in and produced the show with Grant Tinker, her then-husband, and it proved to be way ahead of its time. Moore played Mary Richards, a single woman in her 30s making it as a successful businesswoman. Prior to the show, women weren’t depicted as independent or successful on their own.

While she faced many health challenges in her life include alcoholism, diabetes, and a tumor, she died from other means. Moore died on Jan. 25, 2017, due to cardiopulmonary arrest. She was 80 years old at the time. Her death reportedly followed a battle with pneumonia.

How did Mary Tyler Moore’s son die?

Mary Tyler Moore from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' puts her arm around her son, Richard Meeker Jr., in 1968
Mary Tyler Moore puts her arm around her son, Richard Meeker Jr., in 1968 | Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

Moore had one son — Richie Meeker. Unfortunately, Meeker died in 1980 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Fox News reports.

In Moore’s 1995 memoir, After All, she recounted the painful memory of learning of her son’s death. Her husband she was estranged from at the time, Tinker, called her to tell her the news. “The phone awakened me,” Moore explained. “It was Grant. ‘If you’re standing, you should sit down … It’s Richie. He’s dead.’”

As for what occurred, Meeker’s roommate at the University of Southern California explained it was an accident. “He was loading and unloading the short-barreled gun when it went off,” Judy Vasquez, the roommate, explained to The Washington Post. “It was awful. He must have pulled the trigger. There was a big bang and he fell on the bed.”

“She was devastated by her son’s death and faced a lot of guilt for feeling like she wasn’t the best mother she could have been,” Herbie J. Pilato, an author, added to Fox. “After he died, Moore said she wished she would’ve had children later or at least have more children to do a better job as a mother than what she did with Richie.”

Was Mary Tyler Moore married when she died?


‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’: Why Did Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker Divorce?

So, was Moore married at the time of her death? She was — and it was to Robert Levine. Moore and Richard Carleton Meeker divorced in 1962, and she and Tinker divorced in 1981. Finally, Moore married Robert Levine — and they were together until her death.

Country Living reports Moore and Levine met in 1982. Moore’s mother was sick at the time, and Levine, who was a doctor, came to her mother’s aid. The two then hit it off and married in 1983.

“I can’t believe she is gone,” Levine wrote when Moore died. “Mary was my life, my light, my love. The emptiness I feel without her with me is without bottom. She was a force of nature who fiercely defended her autonomy even as her health was failing.”

If one thing’s for sure, it’s that Moore’s legacy will forever live on thanks to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Check out Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Facebook!