She has previously admitted she ‘wanted to be’ Mary Tyler Moore.
And Oprah Winfrey said she will ‘love her forever’ as she paid tribute to her heroine after she died on Wednesday.
The chat show star took to social media to pay tribute to the television icon, and shared a sweet flashback photo of a previous on-screen meeting between the pair.
She tweeted: ‘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.’
And in a separate message posted on Instagram, she said: ‘Dear Mary, You already know how you majorly influenced my life and career.
‘I respected and admired your business acumen, your passion and compassion for all life, and most importantly, the values espoused through your storytelling.
‘Thank you for being a Light that shined so brightly, it let me see myself in you.’
Like many women of her generation, the 62-year-old had been inspired by the famed actress’ turn as a played a career-focused local news producer on 70s sitcom the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
And she even featured the seven-time Emmy winner as one of her ‘favorite celebrity women.’
When they finally met on-screen Oprah could not contain her excitement, holding back tears as she exclaimed ‘Oh my God!’
And in a rare occurrence, she even confessed ‘I’m speechless,’ a condition that did not last for long.
She told Mary: ‘You have no idea what you meant to me.’
However her quick-witted guest fired back, ‘Yes, I think I do.’
Speaking about her previously, Oprah said: ‘When I was just starting out in TV I was inspired by one woman whose show I never missed.
‘I tuned in every week just to see her turn the world on with her smile.’
She also reflected on her idol’s legacy as she spoketo Extra, saying: ‘Her legacy is every life that she has touched.
‘The fact that I was a young girl watching that show, being myself in the light of the character that she created, and saw through her value system in a way to elevate my own… that is her legacy, and for every other person who saw it and got humor, entertainment, joy, a sense of resilience… for every person that she touched, that will be her legacy.’
‘For me it was deeper than fanship. My relationship with Mary Tyler Moore actually helped me to understand, when I would run into other people and they would say whatever they would say to me, I would pay attention and they would say, “You are my Mary!” And I would say, “Boy, do I get that.”‘
The small screen superstar died on Wednesday surrounded by family members who flocked to say their goodbyes at a Connecticut hospital.
Her publicist, Mara Buxbaum,said in a statement: ‘Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine.
‘A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile.’
SOURCE: Mail Online