Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Mary Tyler Moore Once Claimed a Tuna Sandwich Was the Most ‘Loving’ Gift She Ever Received

Mary Tyler Moore Once Claimed a Tuna Sandwich Was the Most ‘Loving’ Gift She Ever Received

Mary Tyler Moore was a heartthrob celebrity in her life, and she had countless suitors to prove it. But only one man was able to truly capture her soul, and it was all because he was kind enough to make her a sandwich. 

The beautiful and talented Moore was married three times. She wed her first husband, Richard Meeker, in 1955, and the couple divorced in 1961. The following year, Moore married Grant Tinker. She and Tinker parted in 1981. Shortly after, she met Robert Levine, a cardiologist who once treated her mother. The two had instant chemistry and began a new romance. They eventually said “I Do” on Nov. 23, 1983.

According to the HBO documentary Being Mary Tyler Moore, after two divorces, the actress realized what she needed in a relationship—someone who cared for and protected her. She knew Levine would give her that sort of love after one seemingly simple gesture. 

Mary Tyler Moore and Robert Levine Remained Married Until Her Death

As Mary Tyler Moore shared during her bridal shower, she was hungry one night, so Levine went to the kitchen and made her a sandwich. 

“It was the most loving thing that anybody had ever done for me ever before in my life,” she said. “I’ve been given jewels. I’ve been given a lot of things that we all think are obviously of value.”

“That tuna fish sandwich, that was for nothing, from someone who gave it only to me,” she continued. 

Moore’s instincts proved true. The couple remained together until the actress passed on Jan. 25, 2017. In all, she and Levine were together for 33 years. Levine stood by her side as she battled fame, alcoholism, severe diabetes, and, eventually, brain tumors. 

“My husband has always been very good at getting me out of myself when I get down and depressed and all of that — never seriously. So, I am basically a very happy person,” she told Entertainment Tonight in 2013. 

To this day, Levine describes his marriage with Moore as “magic.”

In a recent interview with PEOPLE, he shared that he was happy to give his late wife the relationship she dreamed of and admitted it was a privilege “to be her protector and care for her and hold her.”