Mary Tyler Moore | 80

As groundbreaking (albeit fictional) newswoman Mary Richards, she made Minneapolis cool and inspired a generation of young women entering the work world. 

Her smile. Her style.

In her Emmy-winning portrayal of Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” she navigated uncharted waters as a single working woman producing the news for male-dominated WJM-TV.

She was smart, loyal, funny, brave and kind to her core. She put Minneapolis on the map and we claimed her as our own.

Her sunny disposition belied a toughness. During the sitcom’s seven-year run, she fought for equal pay and won the respect of men, most notably crusty Mr. Grant. She supported birth control and the lifeblood that is a good girlfriend, particularly one named Rhoda.

“She helped generations of women understand that work and friendships are not lesser than our relationships with men,” said KARE 11 reporter Jana Shortal, who saw Mary as a mentor. “They are equal to.”

After the series, she continued to produce and act, bringing stunning depth to her portrayal of grieving mother Beth in the movie “Ordinary People.” She knew what it was to inhabit the abyss of grief at losing a child. Her 24-year-old son had died the same year in an accidental shooting. She struggled with alcoholism, two divorces and a diagnosis of Type I diabetes. Through it all, on and off screen, she remained our Mary.

“Table 5” at Basil’s restaurant, where Richards dined for a split-second in the show’s opening credits, was four decades later still the most requested table. Her iconic beret toss is memorialized in a statue on Nicollet Mall. And the Kenwood mansion that housed her fictional apartment was big news when it was sold in September.

Newswoman Mary Richards probably would have discouraged all the fuss.

But the fact is we cannot help ourselves. Her love is all around us.

GAIL ROSENBLUM