The artist who created the bronze statue of the hat-tossing Mary Tyler Moore for Minneapolis’ Nicollet Mall has died.
Wisconsin artist Gwendolyn Gillen died Jan. 27, two days after Moore, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She was 76.
Last week, a steady stream of Moore’s fans visited the statue to pay tribute to the iconic television actress, who played Mary Richards, a spunky Minneapolis newswoman. The statue, which was erected in 2002, is temporarily housed in the Meet Minneapolis visitor center while Nicollet Mall is under construction.
The 8-foot statue captures the moment after Richards jubilantly spins around on Nicollet Mall and flings her hat into the air.
“She helped break the stereotype of womanhood that our generation grew up believing was our destiny,” Gillen said when the statue was dedicated. “She was the light breeze that blew through our minds and left us with the feeling that we could do anything we wanted to.”
Gillen’s daughter, Alessandra, told the Milwaukee paper that her mother was most proud of that statue, which has long attracted tourists to Nicollet Mall. Gillen was chosen from 21 applicants to cast the bronze sculpture, which was commissioned by cable network TV Land, the Milwaukee paper said.