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Mary Tyler Moore Still Wanted Another Child 10 Years after Her Miscarriage & Felt She Had More to Give

Junie Sihlangu
Apr 25, 2022
07:40 A.M.
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Mary Tyler Moore sadly miscarried a son during her second marriage. Years later, the actress revealed that she wished to give motherhood another go because of how she'd messed up with her only son, Richie.

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In 1969, Mary Tyler Moore was 33 years old when she had a miscarriage. During a Larry King show appearance, the television personality explained how that loss became a silver lining as it saved her life. 

While Moore was dealing with the tragic loss, she was required to have routine blood tests. That's when "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" host found out about her type I diabetes diagnosis.

Mary Tyler Moore on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" as Mary Richards on June 30, 1970, and her with Dick Van Dyke as Rob Petrie, on The Dick Van Dyke Show" on September 25, 1963. | Source: CBS/Getty Images

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Normal blood sugar levels are usually between 70 and 110; Moore's was a shocking 750! Her doctors were quite surprised at how she functioned well with such high blood sugar levels.

They immediately got her to start taking insulin injections to remedy the medical condition. However, this was difficult for the actress as people still didn't know much about diabetes. 

MARY'S MARRIAGES AND WISH TO BE A MOTHER AGAIN

Grant Tinker and Mary Tyler Moore at a party at Chasen's nightclub in Hollywood, California, in 1971. | Source: Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

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Moore met and fell in love with Grant A. Tinker in 1961 after her divorce from her first marriage to Richard Carleton Meeker that same year. With her first husband, the television personality had one child, son Richie Meeker, at age 18.

Moore and Tinker quickly got married in 1962. In her autobiography "After All," that star recalled a night in 1973, after 11½ years of marriage when the pair argued with Tinker suggesting a separation because they'd "poisoned the marriage."

Richard Meeker Jr and Mary Tyler Moore at a Teach Foundation benefit on February 17, 1968. | Source: Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

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The actress headed to the bathroom, where she cried and screamed "No" repeatedly. She later realized that she was pounding her fists on the carpeted floor while having a tantrum she was never allowed to express as a child. 

Moore wasn't the only one struggling with life as Richie had spiraled into drug use in high school in Fresno, California. In February 1973, the star's son called her while sobbing frantically, asking for safety from a cocaine dealer.

Mary Tyler Moore in rehearsal for "The Dick Van Dyke Show" on December 2, 1963, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Earl Theisen/Getty Images

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Richie was being threatened with death over unpaid debts, and that's when Moore realized how deep her son was in drug usage. She found a doctor for him and offered Richie shelter on the condition that he visit the specialist.

Over the next two years, the actress's son managed to get clean and finish high school. In 1979, Moore and Tinker started discussing how they'd become distant, but these feeble attempts were only made when she star was drinking.

Mary Tyler Moore posing for a photo, circa 1965. | Source: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

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The distance between her and her husband was so bad that Moore had her first affair. She never named the man but recalled how they'd met on the set of "Ordinary People," recalling:

"When he touched me that first time with such intense passion and curiosity, I thought I’d die from pleasure."

Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker at the 25th Primetime Emmy Awards on May 20, 1973, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images

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However, that relationship didn't go anywhere because the man was also in a longtime commitment and wasn't keen on changing it. Besides the affair, in 1979, Moore made a revelation about motherhood to Barbara Walters a year before losing Richie, stating

"I often wish that now, the situation were such that I could have another stab at motherhood. Because I could give so much more to [a] child now, because I'm through 'looking at myself.'"

Mary Tyler Moore posing for a photo, circa 1965. | Source: Silver Screen Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images

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Moore was willing to have a child naturally or to adopt to have another chance at bringing up a happier and healthier offspring. The television personality shared how she had been too eager to start a life on her own in her teenage years.

She also said she wanted to prove herself worthy of someone's attention; however, by 1995, Moore had come to terms with not being given another chance to become a mother. She explained that she'd gotten to where she didn't think her goal was important anymore. 

LOSING HER ONLY SON, RICHIE

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On October 15, 1980, "The Dick Van Dyke Show" star received a call from Tinker, her then–estranged husband and CBS executive, informing her Richie was dead. At age 24, Moore's son had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

It was later revealed that Richie's death was an accident. The actress's son was attending the University of Southern California at the time and had been a gun collector. 

Mary Tyler Moore at the film premiere of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" on October 12, 1967. | Source: Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

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Judy Vasquez, Richie's roommate, told The Washington Post how Moore's son had been loading and unloading the gun's barrel when it went off. Vasquez heard a big bang before seeing her roommate fall on the bed. 

She [Mary Tyler Moore] recalled how they'd had happiness, were growing, evolving, and learning to understand each other when his [Richie Meeker] life was cut short. 

Moore admitted that she had not been the best mother to Richie and was left "devastated" by his death. After his death, the star confessed that she wished she'd had children later or more of them, compared to what she did with Richie. 

Jerry Paris, Mary Tyler Moore, and Dick Van Dyke on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" in Los Angeles on September 25, 1963. | Source: CBS/Getty Images

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Moore cremated her son and spread his ashes in California's Owens River. In her book, she recalled how high and clear the water had been as she knelt over and opened the urn to empty the ashes, saying:

“What was meant to be a prayer became an outraged demand. ‘You take care of him,’ I screamed at the sky.”

The television personality and Tinker eventually divorced the year after Richie's death. The star ended up getting married for the third time but lived with many regrets until her death.

MOORE'S LIFE REGRETS AND DEATH

Mary Tyler Moore posing for a photo, circa 1970. | Source: Silver Screen Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images

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Sadly, Moore became estranged and wasn't around for Richie's childhood because she focused on her busy Hollywood career. In a 1995 CBS interview, the iconic star noted how her stardom had come at a price.

The busier she got, the less time she spent with her son until he grew distant. However, they did become a bit closer when he was an adult, and Richie's life appeared to be on track until his accidental death.

Richard G. Meeker in a black and white photo taken in September 1980, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Bettmann/Getty Images

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Ironically, when the actress lost him, she'd recently starred in "Ordinary People," where she played a resentful mother whose son passed away. In the CBS interview, Moore expressed regret for not investing more into her relationship with her son, adding:

"I can’t imagine a pain more all-encompassing than losing a child."

Mary Tyler Moore and Dr. Robert Levine at a National Press Club Luncheon on May 28, 2009, in Washington, DC. | Source: Kris Connor/Getty Images

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However, Moore held onto the "two wonderful years" they had together before his passing. She recalled how they'd had happiness, were growing, evolving, and learning to understand each other when his life was cut short. 

Moore struggled with health issues later on in life until she was admitted to a Connecticut hospital in early 2017. At age 80, on January 25, 2017, she passed away and was survived by her last husband, Robert Levine.

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