Photo of Mary Tyler Moore Mary Tyler Moore

Born Dec. 29, 1936, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mary Tyler Moore moved to California with her family eight years later. Getting her showbiz break in 1955 as the dancing Happy Hotpoint pixie in TV commercials, Moore ultimately morphed into an icon of feminine strength and autonomy.

Moore turned her talents to acting, and in 1961 was cast in "The Dick Van Dyke Show," a role that earned her two Emmys. The willowy brunette soon graduated to films, starring in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) and with Elvis Presley in Change of Habit (1969). She returned to television in 1970 with the eponymous "Mary Tyler Moore Show," which served as a boon to career women everywhere.

Moore received an Oscar nod for her turn in Ordinary People (1980) and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1985. A Type I diabetic, she's been hailed for her work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People

Ordinary People

1980 R

Everything is in its proper place in the Jarrett household -- except the past. Mary Tyler Moore scored an Oscar nod for her role as repressed mother Beth Jarrett, whose favorite son has died, leaving her with another (Timothy Hutton) she can barely tolerate. The film also netted four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Redford, in his directorial bow), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for young Hutton.

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