Vale: Valerie Harper

US actress, best known for the comedies Rhoda and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has died.

US actress Valerie Harper, best known for the comedies Rhoda and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has died aged 80.

She died after being diagnosed with lung and brain cancer in 2009.

Her daughter Christina tweeted, “My dad has asked me to pass on this message: “My beautiful caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06am, after years of fighting cancer. She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, mia Valeria. -Anthony.”

Harper played Rhoda Morgenstern, a sidekick to the Mary Richards character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1970–1974. While Mary Richards was happily single, a rarity for the era, the Rhoda character was an outspoken, wisecracking woman desperate to find a husband.

Her character was so popular that the network spun off Rhoda, which ran from 1974-78. She won four Emmys for the two shows.

“I can’t tell you enough how much fun it was and how supported I felt,” she told the Television Academy Foundation in 2009.

“Even with all the feminism we had gone through, being married was equated with success,” she said.

In 1986 Harper starred in the sitcom Valerie, though she left after a salary dispute at the end of the second season and went on to guest on The Love Boat, Melrose Place, That ’70s Show, Sex and the City, Hot in Cleveland and Desperate Housewives.

Film credits included Freebie and the Bean, Blame It on Rio, The Last Married Couple in America and, Shiver.

In her memoir “I, Rhoda,” she quoted her friend Nicole Barth on the three main female characters in The Mary Tyler Moore Show: “Mary is who you wish you were. Rhoda is who you probably are. And Phyllis is who’ll you’re afraid you’ll become.”

Source: Variety

4 Responses

  1. Oh no,it’s very sad to see another member of the wonderful cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show leave us.Valerie was a really great comedic actor who shone not only in MTM but in her own show,Rhoda, as well.She had a really long and tough battle with cancer,but at least her suffering is over now.

    Rest in Peace,Valerie Harper.

  2. I am still incredibly saddened by this news. Valerie Harper was a part of my youth in such a vivid way and to then watch her as an adult was pure magic. Her spirit and skill were on display. The actress achieved so much and will be remembered as one of the greats. Images of her as Rhoda are in my minds eye. And she lived several years longer than expected. True grit. Rest easily now.

  3. And before her acting career took off, she was a very talented dancer. You can see her in the much under appreciated musical film “L’il Abner” ,most clearly seen as one of the wives in the number “Put ‘em Back” …always a very funny gal. I last saw her in a Beverly Hill restaurant only 2 years ago, looking very stylish.

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