Mary Tyler Moore may have turned the world on through her smile, yet behind closeup of the door doors the top actress went through numerous hardships in she life.

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In 1980, the prick Van Dyke display star gained the news that her son, Richie, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in ~ the age of 24. It was later confirmed that the fatality was an accident.

Moore, that passed far at period 80 on Wednesday, opened up up about the harrowing ordeal in she 1995 memoir, after ~ All. Top top October 15, 1980, she got a 5 a.m. Phone contact from she then–estranged husband, CBS executive, management Grant Tinker, that told she the news.


mar Tyler Moore and Richard Meeker Jr. In ~ a Teach foundation benefit in 1968. Open minded Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

“The phone call awakened me. It was Grant,” she recalled. “‘If you standing, you need to sit under …. It’s Richie. He’s dead."” (Two year earlier, Moore’s sister Elizabeth died of a drug overdose.)

Richie to be a total collector and also was attending the college of southern California in ~ the time. His roommate Judy Vasquez spoke around the incident in one interview with The Washington Post. “He to be loading and unloading the short-barreled gun when it go off,” she said. “It was awful. He must have pulled the trigger. There to be a huge bang and also he fell on the bed.”

Moore would later on spread his ashes in the Owens river in California. “The water was clear and also high as I knelt over it. I opened the container and emptied it right into the rushing water,” she composed in ~ All. “What was supposed to be a prayer ended up being an outraged demand. ‘You take treatment of him,’ i screamed in ~ the sky.”


Richard G. Meeker Bettmann/Getty Images

The mary Tyler Moore show actress welcomed Richie v her first husband, Richard Meeker, in 1961 when she was 18. As result of her busy schedule, she and Richie became estranged for part time.

“I request a the majority of Richie. I was responsible because that a most alienation,” she admitted. “There is no question about it. By the time Richie to be 5, i had already let the down. Once he needed me the most, ns was busier and even much more self-concerned than I had been as soon as he was an impressionable infant.”

Richie, who ultimately reconnected with Moore, would later seek therapy for drug abuse. In she memoir, Moore recounted the time he referred to as her “frantic and also sobbing” since he was in trouble with a drug dealer.

“I realized the degree of the tangle the was now my young life,” she wrote.

Moore went through other battles, too. She to be diagnosed with form 1 diabetes when she was 33 years old and also underwent mind surgery in 2011 because that a bright tumor. On Wednesday, she passed away at a Connecticut hospital after being hooked approximately a respirator for an ext than a week.

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