Mary Tyler Moore was “almost blinded” by diabetes in her final years, according to her husband.
The sitcom legend passed away in 2017 at the age of 80 from cardiopulmonary arrest complicated by pneumonia but some years prior had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes – a condtion which means the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin – after suffering a miscarriage and now her widower Robert Levine, 68, has told how the disease almost robbed her of her sight completely.
He told Fox News Digital: “Over time, she suffered many of the complications of diabetes. 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 had such narrowed visual fields and such limited central vision that she was unable to read. She was unable to walk across a room safely without bumping into things or tripping over things. And for a woman who was in her heart a dancer and so physically capable and so independent, just imagine what that would mean to you, to have your joy robbed from you. Visual loss from diabetes was a big issue for Mary.”
The former ‘Dick van Dyke Show’ star – who is the subject of the new HBO documentary ‘Being Mary Tyler Moore’ – was mother to the late Richie Meeks with first husband Richard Meeker and went on to marry TV executive Grant Tinker in 1962 before settling with Robert in 1983 and he went on to explain that all relationships come with some form of “baggage” and recalled how when he first met Mary, he had “no intention” of sacrificing his career for love.
He added: “We all walk into relationships with baggage. I was a young doctor. I had no expectation in my life of actually ever having a relationship with anything or anyone other than medicine. That was my calling. That’s what I was committed to. When we met, I was not prepared to have a relationship with anyone. But as you see in her work, there was something so compelling about Mary, so genuine, so approachable. And all my usual barriers to interaction with people, my fears, were kind of reduced. They were eliminated.”