- Mary Tyler Moore was married three times.
- She had one child with her first husband, Richard Meeker.
- Mary was married to her third husband, Robert Levine, when she died in 2017 at 80 years old.
HBO has put Mary Tyler Moore back in the spotlight with a new project about the late TV star. The documentary Being Mary Tyler Moore, out May 26, examines Mary’s life, including her three marriages. Mary was married to Richard Meeker, Grant Tinker, and Robert Levine, who was her husband when she died in 2017 at 80 years old. Robert is an executive producer on the documentary, which looks back at how he fell in love with the famous actress after her first two marriages failed.
“I suggested we call the film, ‘Being Mary Tyler Moore,’ “Robert said in a new interview on TODAY. “The thing about it was, being Mary, because everything Mary did, she was authentic. She was being herself,” he added.
Mary’s first two marriages didn’t work out, but eventually she found an amazing partner in Robert, who is continuing to spread her legacy in more ways than one. Here is everything you need to know about the three men who were married to Mary.
Mary was only 18 years old when she married 28-year-old cranberry sauce sales manager Richard Meeker in 1955. Within six weeks, Mary was pregnant with the couple’s only child, Richard “Richie” Meeker Jr., who was born July 3, 1956. Mary and Richard got divorced in 1962, when Richie was 6 years old. Sadly, Richie died on October 14, 1980 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Richie was handling a short-barreled, .410-gauge shotgun when the gun went off, according to the Washington Post. Not much is known about Richard after he lost his son in the tragic accident.
Mary married her second husband, television executive Grant Tinker, in 1962, months after she got divorced from Richard. Mary and Grant formed the TV production company MTM Enterprises, which produced her hit show The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary and Grant separated in 1979 and got divorced two years later. In her 1995 memoir After All, Mary recalled how her marriage to Grant ended in “a cloud of silence,” according to PEOPLE. Mary wrote in her book that she turned to alcohol after the marriage failed, despite having Type 1 diabetes. Mary eventually battled alcoholism but stopped drinking after she went to rehab at the Betty Ford Center in the 1980s.
Mary married her third husband, cardiologist Robert Levine, on November 23, 1983 in New York City. Robert was Mary’s mother Marjorie Hackett Moore‘s doctor when she was sick, which is how the future couple met. In his interview on TODAY, Robert recalled the beginning of their relationship.
“When I was about to leave, I said what you would expect a doctor to say, ‘Mary, if you have concerns or any further questions, just give me a call.’ And she turns to me and says, ‘Is acute loneliness a good enough reason to call?’ And I said, ‘I can’t think of a better reason to be calling at 3 a.m.’ And so in fact, a couple of days later, at 3 a.m., she called me,” Robert shared.
Robert actually didn’t know Mary was famous when they first met. “In that first moment, I recognized it was different and certainly our first date… it was so easy,” he said on TODAY. “Because I didn’t really know Mary as a star, so there wasn’t [a] fan-star thing going on.”
It has been more than six years since Mary Tyler Moore passed away, and her life and legacy is now being portrayed in a documentary. @JennaBushHager spoke about the icon to the man who knew her best; husband Dr. Robert Levine. pic.twitter.com/DgW9VTFitL
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 24, 2023
Robert stayed married to Mary until she passed away in 2017 due to cardiopulmonary arrest complicated by pneumonia. He released a statement to PEOPLE after she died, saying, “I can’t believe she is gone. Mary was my life, my light, my love. The emptiness I feel without her with me is without bottom. She was a force of nature who fiercely defended her autonomy even as her health was failing. Mary was fearless, determined, and willfull. If she felt strongly about something, or that there was truth to be told, she would do it, no matter the consequences. She was kind, genuine, approachable, honest, and humble. And she had that smile. Oh, to see her smile that smile, just once more.”
Since Mary’s death, Robert founded the Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative to try to find a cure for diabetes complications. As for why he wanted to make the documentary about his late wife, Robert told TODAY, “I wanted to reflect on what Mary’s life was, remind people of her importance and her impact, and encourage them to be a Mary too. To stand up for what you believe and to always present the world with a smile, but to not be shy from the battle.”