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November 12, 2021

Mary Tyler Moore Got 'Real Rebirth' from Her Husband of 33 Years Who Stood by Her till the End

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Seven-time Primetime Emmy Award Winner Mary Tyler Moore found love with a doctor who treated her mother. What supposedly started as a revenge fling blossomed into a beautiful love story.

Mary Tyler Moore and Dr. Robert Levine were brought together by fate in 1982. Moore’s mother, Marge, fell ill with severe bronchitis that year.

As usual, the actress dialed her regular doctor, who happened to be unavailable. Instead, she was connected with Levine, who was on call that day.

(L) American actress Mary Tyler Moore poses for a headshot in the 1960s. (R) Mary Tyler Moore and her husband Dr. Robert Levine during Lifetime's Achievement Awards at Manhattan Center in New York City, New York | Photo: Getty Images

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MOORE & LEVINE’S LOVE STORY

He told People in 1984 that after he saw Moore’s mom the second time, he urged the star to contact him if there was an emergency. Levine revealed that the producer replied:

“Does acute loneliness count?”

He responded yes, and a few days later, the pair went out on a dinner date. Soon after, they started spending every weekend together. He was 15 years Moore’s junior.

Mary Tyler Moore and Dr. Robert Levine at the American Screenwriters Associations' "2002 Screenwriting Hall of Fame Awards" at the Sheraton Universal Hotel on August 3, 2002 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

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Nonetheless, the couple did not allow the age gap to deter them. At the time, a friend revealed to People that Moore was head over heels in love with Levine:

“She fell really in love. It’s been a real rebirth.”

Emanuel Azenberg, producer of “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” in which Moore starred on Broadway in 1980, shared Levine was genuinely caring.

An undated image of Mary Tyler Moore presenting during 4th Annual TV Land Awards Show at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California | Photo: Getty Images

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He added it was evident the two were in love, noting, “they both have too much integrity to stay with the relationship if they weren’t.”

Eventually, the duo made things official by tying the knot on Thanksgiving Eve in 1983. The ceremony was held at Manhattan’s Pierre Hotel in New York and was officiated by a rabbi.

Mary Tyler Moore arrives at the premiere of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" on October 12, 1967 | Photo: Getty Images

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Levine is Jewish, and Moore was a Catholic, and according to an insider, both their families were reportedly happy about the union. As for how the bride felt on that day, a pal told People:

"You’d never know this is her third wedding. All she talks about is her dress and how excited she is.”

Costar and longtime friend Valerie Harper (a bridesmaid) commented about Moore’s big day. She shared that Moore was filled with joy because she and Levine were friends and loved each other.

Mary Tyler Moore poses with her Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild backstage at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

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She added he made her feel cherished and that both their families were happy about that as well. When they married, Moore was 45, and Levine was 30 years old.

Interestingly, people believed the “Mary Tyler Moore” star had dated the younger Levine to get back at a former ex as their separation had left her devastated. However, their relationship survived the odds.  

Moore had been married twice before she met Levine. Her first husband was Producer Richard Meeker, and she was 18 years old when they tied the knot in 1955.

Mary Tyler Moore smiling in a headshot from the television series, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" | Photo: Getty Images

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MOORE & MEEKER

The former couple welcomed their first and only child, Richie, a year later. However, when Moore’s career reached its peak, their marriage suffered, and they divorced in 1961 only to reunite briefly when Richie tragically died in a freak gun accident in 1980.  

Additionally, she also experienced another tragedy in her life when she lost her sister, Elizabeth, to a drug overdose. She was 21 years old.

Mary Tyler Moore arrives with her husband Grant Tinker at The 25th Primetime Emmy Awards on May 20, 1973 at Shubert Theatre, Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

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TINKER & MOORE

Moore picked up the pieces and found love again when she wed then Television Executive Grant Tinker two years later. They tied the knot in Las Vegas at Nevada’s Dunes Hotel.

Moore’s health issues rocked their marriage. But despite that, it led to a successful production partnership through which “The Mary Tyler Show” was born.

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HER PASSING

However, four years after the sitcom ended, the two divorced in 1981. They were married for nineteen years, and Moore started afresh with a new life in New York City.

The third time was a charm for the social advocate whose marriage to Levine lasted for more than 33 years. Together, the couple dedicated time and resources to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, serving on the international board of directors.

Sadly, Moore died on January 25, 2017, at age 80. An insider told People that she had been placed on a ventilator and was hospitalized with pneumonia due to complications from diabetes. She battled type 1 Diabetes.

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Pictured: An undated image of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" alum Mary Tyler Moore | Photo: Getty Images

KEEPING HER MEMORY ALIVE

The New York native’s rep revealed she passed away in the company of her friends and loving husband. A few weeks after her passing, Levine mourned his beloved wife, sharing he was hopeful in the assurance that her light and legacy would live on forever.

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The New York-based cardiologist expressed disbelief that Moore was no longer alive, noting that she was his life, light, and love while adding:

“The emptiness I feel without her with me is without bottom. She was kind, genuine, approachable, honest, and humble. And she had that smile. Oh, to see her smile, just once more…”

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Levine was a remarkable spouse who traveled alongside his wife when she filmed various projects over the years. He was also deeply involved in her struggle of balancing her diabetes with alcohol.

She ended up checking into the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, in 1984. Levine emphasized that Moore was not an actual alcoholic but that drinking was dangerous to her as he classified her consumption as social drinking.

An outdoor image of American producer Mary Tyler Moore in the 1970s | Photo: Getty Images

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HEALTH ISSUES & ADDICTION

According to Levine, it meant she drank a cocktail after work, as an after-dinner drink or either one or two glasses at a party. He also maintained that social drinks kill 80 million people in the US.  

Following a two-week study of her condition, Levine concluded that the substance was affecting her body chemistry. He noted that the main issue was that her diabetes was progressive and became more challenging to treat.

An undated photograph of Mary Tyler Moore dressed in a white attire | Photo: Getty Images

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 THEIR HOME

On a lighter note, the couple lived in a luxurious apartment in Manhattan, NY. In 1991, Moore gave an interview to Architectural Digest in which she talked about their country home.

Speaking on their purchasing process, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” star said they began by being sensible and explained they wanted an apartment with a terrace.

Mary Tyler Moore onstage at Broadway Barks 14 at the Booth Theatre on July 14, 2012 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

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However, it became a challenge to find one, and that discouraged them a little bit. Levine and Moore also wanted something that was pet-friendly in a fitting neighborhood.

While Moore had been married before, this was Levine’s first marriage. The Times reported that the medical professional received his medical degree from the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago.

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