Mary Tyler Moore Was ‘Nearly Blinded’ & ‘Unable to Walk’: Her Husband of 33 Years Reveals Her Last Painful Years before Death

Mary Tyler Moore lit the screen with her smile during the ’60s and ’70s.

Her husband of almost 34 years reveals her hard last months of life, which she tried to hide from the public.

Television icon Mary Tyler Moore and her beloved husband, Dr. Robert Levine, met by chance. Her mother, Marjorie Hackett Moore, had fallen ill, and he treated her. He was on call then.

Levine openly discussed his relationship with his famous wife during an appearance on the “TODAY” show in May 2023. He mentioned what he said to her when they met at the hospital.

Actress Mary Tyler Moore and her husband Dr. Robert Levine attend the New York Chapter Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International Presents the 26th Annual Promise Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on November 14, 1998 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

He told her what a medical professional would normally 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?’” Levine recalled.

“And I said, ‘I can’t think of a better reason to be calling at 3 a.m.’” Funnily enough, she called him at 3 a.m. days later, and he was overly stunned.

Levine, a cardiologist, admitted he was unaware of Moore’s superstardom because he rarely watched television. But he knew what they had was something special:

“In that first moment, I recognized it was different and certainly our first date…it was so easy.”

Dr. Robert Levine and his wife Mary Tyler Moore attend the "Sweet Sue" Opening Night Party at the Tavern on the Green on January 8, 1987 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

The couple wed in 1983 and had been married for three decades before Moore’s passing in 2017 at age 80. The TV star was best known for stints on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

While she was known as a star by many people, to her darling husband, the actress was “someone who had (an) enormous heart,” polite and kind.

Moore Was “Nearly Blinded” during Her Final Years & Tried to Hide from the Public
In a May 2023 interview, director James Adolphus dished on Levine’s treatment of his beloved wife. He revealed her celebrity status was not a factor in their relationship:

“He treated her as a woman who he respected, not for what she had done in the world but for who she was to him.”

In addition to being warmly embraced by her spouse, Moore faced many health issues later in her life. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after pregnancy loss in her early thirties.

Over the years, she endured several complications from the chronic condition, her husband revealed in an interview. “But the one thing that had the greatest impact on her was the fact that she was nearly blinded by it in her later years.”

Mary Tyler Moore and Dr. Robert Levine onstage at Broadway Barks 14 at the Booth Theatre on July 14, 2012 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Things were so bad that, at some point, Moore could not read and could not walk across a room without bumping into something, Levine explained.

He added, “Visual loss from diabetes was a big issue for Mary.” She kept these parts of her life away from the public to shield herself by hiding from those who knew her, said Adolphus

Levine Keeps His Wife’s Memory Alive
During a May interview, fellow actor Robert Redford disclosed that he saw the social advocate taking a stroll at a beach in Malibu one day, looking sorrowful.

Seeing her in that state did something to him, and it stayed with him until he started casting for the drama series, “Ordinary People,” in which she starred as Beth Jarret. Moreover, Adolphus made a documentary called “Being Mary Tyler Moore,” based on the star’s life story.

He stated that he was amazed at how Moore showed keenness to be vulnerable about all she had endured, including pain, sorrows, and tragedies. Adolphus noted people would get a closer look at Moore’s life in getting to know who she was.

The documentary premiered on HBO on May 26, 2023, featuring footage of Moore telling her own story, including a rare video of unseen pictures of her. Overall, it touches on her Hollywood success and her trauma.

Studio portrait of Mary Tyler Moore, wearing a red, white and blue striped shirt on January 1, 1975 | Source: Getty Images

Meanwhile, her husband, who served as the executive producer, divulged he initially suggested they call the film “Being Mary Tyler Moore.”

He said the name was befitting because everything his spouse did, showed her “authentic,” self. In addition, Levine keeps Moore’s memory alive by working to find ways to cure complications from diabetes with the Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative.