Throughout her life, veteran TV comedy actress and trailblazer Mary Tyler Moore inspired scores of female fans, including Oprah Winfrey.
The seven-time Emmy winner, who famously played an independent career woman, a local news producer, on the '70s sitcom the Mary Tyler Moore show, died at age 80 Wednesday. Winfrey, a former local news anchor, had showcased her love for her on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the '90s, including during a now viral video of a surprise appearance.
Moore had famously shocked Winfrey twice—first in 1993, when she phoned into The Oprah Winfrey Show, and in 1997, when she made an unannounced visit in person. The host was overcome with emotion as she stepped onstage and gave her a hug in front of her screaming crowd.
"Oh my God!" Winfrey exclaimed, blinking back tears as Moore sat next to her and smiled. "I'm speechless."
"You have no idea what you meant to me," the host said.
"Yes, I think I do," Moore said.
Winfrey had praised the actress as one of her "favorite celebrity women."
"When I was just starting out in TV, I was inspired by one woman whose show I never missed," she said. "I tuned in every week just to see her turn the world on with her smile."
Shortly after learning of the tragic news herself, Oprah took to Twitter to pay tribute to the late iconic star and the very special moment she met her, writing, "Even now looking at this picture I want to cry. I still can't believe Mary Tyler Moore touched my face. Will love her 4 ever."