After Mary Tyler Moore died Wednesday at the age of 80, Donald Sutherland released a statement remembering his Oscar-nominated costar in Ordinary People.
“Mary was and is and now always will be, perfect,” Sutherland said. “She was the perfect actor to work with, the performance she gave was perfect, painfully perfect, and the friendship she offered was perfect. I am in her thrall.”
Both starred in Robert Redford’s 1980 directorial debut, telling the story of the Jarrett family and their struggle to process the loss of their teenage son. Sutherland and Moore played the grieving husband and wife, Calvin and Beth, and both earned Golden Globe nominations. Moore won the Globe and was also nominated for an Academy Award for her role; in all, Ordinary People won four Oscars, including Best Picture.
In 2016, Moore, Sutherland, and Redford all reflected on Ordinary People as part of EW’s 35th anniversary oral history, and Moore discussed how she approached Beth and her failure to connect with her husband.
“Beth was a victim,” Moore said at the time. “I shared this with Redford, who told me in our first meeting that the non-relationship Beth had with Conrad was the mirror of the non-interaction he had with his own father. Beth made me think of my father and his rigidity. I imagine a bit of him in me — along with my own tendency to want everything to be perfect — set the table for bringing Beth to life on film.”