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Mary Tyler Moore, a television icon who helped redefine the notion of womanhood for several generations and over a number of decades, has passed away at age 80. The cause was cardiopulmonary arrest, which she suffered after contracting pneumonia.

Moore first gained notoriety as Sam, the secretary in the old "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" TV series, which starred a very young David Janssen; for the most part, viewers only saw her legs and heard her voice. Then, she leapt to stardom as Laura Petrie in "The Dick Van Dyke Show," and then cemented her iconic status as Mary Richards on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." In those roles, both covertly and overtly, Moore used comedy to show us women who were every bit as talented, funny and yes, even spunky, as the men in her personal and work lives.

Later in her career, Moore was nominated for an Oscar for her serious portrayal of a mother in serious emotional pain in Ordinary People, and won a Tony for her performance as a quadriplegic who wants to commit suicide in “Whose Life Is It, Anyway?”

And perhaps as important as anything, she cofounded, with her then-husband, Grant Tinker, MTM Enterprises, which generated television series that included “The Bob Newhart Show,” "Taxi," “Newhart,” “WKRP in Cincinnati,” “Hill Street Blues,” “St. Elsewhere,” and "Rhoda."
KC's View:
My 22-year-old daughter was crushed by the news, mostly because she has always been an enormous fan of "The Dick Van Dyke Show," using it as a kind of comfort food when she's just looking to relax. She says it holds up better than "The Mary Tyler Show," and I'll accept that ... though I still think that "Chuckles Bites the Dust" may be one of the funniest half-hours of television ever produced.