Television pioneer Mary Tyler Moore inspired a generation of women, but her poignant impact on Oprah Winfrey remains the stuff of show biz legend.

The iconic talk show host broke down in tears when she learned of Moore's death, Entertainment Tonight reports.

"It’s the first time I would recall a public figure in recent years passing — and we’ve lost so many people recently – where I actually sat down and shed tears about it," Winfrey told ET on Wednesday, January 25, the day Moore passed away at the age of 80.

The TV personality also became emotional during her phone interview when she began to speak about the time Moore, who inspired her to pursue a career in television, surprised her by showing up on her talk show in 1997.

"The moment she surprised me on that show was a life-changing moment for many reasons. First of all, it’s the time I coined the ugly cry," Winfrey shared. "And I went into double, triple overtime. After that I said, 'Never again!' I called all my producers together...I said, 'Never again will I be surprised on the show, and if I’m ever surprised on the show, it will cost whoever produced that show their job.' Because I could not speak, hear or think!"

Praising Moore as a "role model," she added, "Mary Tyler Moore first gave me the idea that you can own your own show and produce it. She was the one... 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..."

On Twitter, Winfrey continued to gush over the late actress, sharing a photo from Moore's appearance on Oprah and writing, "Even now looking at this picture I want to cry. I still can't believe Mary Tyler Moore touched my face."

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