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Mary Tyler Moore’s Son Only Chatted with Roommate & Then the Gun Went Off — Details of that Tragic Night

Busayo Ogunjimi
Sep 05, 2021
10:40 A.M.
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Mary Tyler Moore, the woman who brightened the faces of movie lovers, suffered a painful loss of her son who chatted with roommates before pulling the trigger on himself — insights into the tragic incident.


Mary Tyler Moore was a sought-after actress who lost a son in the film "Ordinary People." Sadly, she suffered the same fate in real life when her son, Richie, from a former relationship, passed away.

The young adult was a 24-year-old student at the University of Southern Carolina. After police reported to the scene of the incident, they gathered that it was an unfortunate mistake involving a 410-gauge gun preserved due to the fear of burglars.

Pictures of Mary Tyler Moore with her son, Richie | Photo: Getty Images | youtube.com/FoundationINTERVIEWS


After thorough questioning of Richie's roommates, two female students, Janet McLaughlin and Judy Vasquez, the authorities could not conclude that the deceased died by suicide because the coroner's report was not released.

He was enjoying the company of the girls while loading and unloading a short barrel gun. They chatted about their day and future. Then, unintentionally, Moore's son pulled the trigger that ended his life.

Mary Tyler Moore makes an appearance as a presenter during 4th Annual TV Land Awards, in Santa Monica, California | Photo: Getty Images


He never showcased suicidal tendencies; in fact, he was a happy man in a healthy relationship with his girlfriend in Fresno. The first family member to be notified was Moore's estranged second husband, producer, Grant Tinker.

He broke the news to the actress who was beyond hurt and wasted no time in returning to Los Angeles. Richie's father, a television account executive, also heard the tragic news.

Mary Tyler Moore poses backstage at the 2006 TV Land Awards at the Barker Hangar | Photo: Getty Images


Although her career as an onscreen diva in productions like "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Dick Van Dyke Show," and "Ordinary People," was very successful, after the death of her son, Moore's reality was crushed with irredeemable pain.

In her 1995 "After All" memoir, she reflected on her time as a mother to Richie and voiced a sting of guilt. Moore explained that during his younger years, she was too busy to parent him.

Mary Tyler Moore attends the Farm Sanctuary Gala 2004 at The Plaza Hotel on May 22, 2004 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images


However, when he began to lose himself to drugs, it gave her a wake-up call to be more present for her child. Finally, they struck a bond, and Richie started living a healthy and admirable life.

When the 24-year-old died, she sought help from a psychotherapist to help her maintain a sound mind. Finally, she occupied her time with a busy schedule to cope with the hurt.

Mary Tyler Moore accepts the Life Achievement Award on January 29, 2012, in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images.

In the same book, she wrote that Richie's ashes were spread upon the waters of the Owens River in California. Before her death in 2017, at age 80, she suffered from a drinking problem and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.


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