Oprah Winfrey said 20 years ago that she “wanted to be Mary Tyler Moore.”
Now, the host is remembering the legendary actress, who died on Wednesday at the age of 80. Winfrey got to meet her idol when Moore surprised the TV host during a 1997 Oprah Winfrey Show segment devoted to The Mary Tyler Moore Show star.
Hours after Moore’s death, Winfrey shared a picture on Twitter from the actress’ appearance, writing, “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.”
In the 1997 clip, Winfrey shared how important Moore was to her. “When I was just starting out in TV, I was inspired by one woman whose show I never missed. I mean, never,” she said. “I tuned in every week just to see her turn the world on with her smile.”
Winfrey then recalled in recreating the iconic title sequence from The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1993 — and getting a surprise phone call from Moore herself. “Mary, if you would have showed up here, I would have just died,” Winfrey confessed.
Just as that clip ended, Moore did show up, shocking Winfrey, who was brought to tears. “Oh my god, I’m speechless,” she told the actress. “I may not cry over it, but you’re my favorite person,” replied Moore.
Watch the throwback video above.