Life story

The Tragic Real-Life Story of Mary Tyler Moore

Shortly after graduating from high school, Mary Tyler Moore married her first husband, Richard Meeker, in 1955 (per biography). A year later, the couple welcomed Moore’s only child, a boy, whom they named after her husband but who was affectionately known as Richie.

But Moore would not spend as much time with her son as she had hoped. Sadly, on October 14, 1980, her son committed suicide at the age of 24. According to The Washington Post, Meeker Jr. was playing with a shotgun while talking to a roommate. During an attempt to load, the gun exploded and Meeker died. Following his death, it was not immediately possible to determine whether his cause of death was an accident or suicide, although his housemates said it was an accident. Moore would maintain that her death was an accident in her autobiography “Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yes, Diabetes.”

Moore was a busy actress for most of her son’s childhood, but the pair grew closer as he grew up. At the time of her death, she had recently made a film about a mother losing a son – hitting very close to home. Moore would regret not investing more in his relationship with his son, according to a 1995 interview with CBS.


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