Mary Tyler Moore‘s regular presence on television throughout the ’60s and ’70s made her one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses — and allowed fans to truly feel a connection with her.
During Wednesday evening’s episode of The Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon took a moment to pay a tribute to the late star, who died Wednesday at the age of 80. A source told PEOPLE she had been on a ventilator and had been hospitalized with pneumonia due to complications from her diabetes.
“We’re all really saddened today to hear about the passing of Mary Tyler Moore. She was a pioneer not just for television and comedy, but for women,” said Fallon, 42. “Her character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show was really the first single working woman on TV.”
“She’s been on television my whole life,” he continued. “Me and my family would have dinner and watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show, so I almost feel like she was part of my family, too. When you love someone that much — in fact, side note, my high school yearbook quote was: ‘A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants,’ from the Chuckles the clown episode, one of the funniest moments on television.”
“She was one of the coolest, one of the classiest, one of the funniest people ever,” he added. “Thank you for making us all laugh.”
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“Mary Tyler Moore first gave me the idea that you can own your own show and produce it. She was the one,” said Winfrey, 62. “She paved the way through storytelling for women and was a value system for women without even knowing it. So, her legacy will live on in ways I know the creators of [The Mary Tyler Moore Show] never even imagined.”