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Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: August 22, 1940 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Suffern, New York, USA Profession: actor, dancer, salesclerk (Macy's), hatcheck girl (at Lutece)

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Perhaps no other actress evoked the edgy, freewheeling spirit of 1970s television than Emmy-winning actress Valerie Harper, whose star-making turn as the brassy, bold Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS, 1970-77) and its spin-off "Rhoda" (CBS, 1974-78) remained one of the most adulated performances in TV history. Harper began her career as a Broadway showgirl, making a name for herself in such high-profile productions as "Destry Rides Again" (1959) and "Wildcat" (1960), but it was on the small screen where she rose to fame. Harper won over audiences as Moore's wisecracking, headscarf-sporting best friend on the acclaimed series "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," a scene-stealing role she later reprised on her own sitcom "Rhoda." In 1974, she broke into film, playing Alan Arkin's wife in the comedy "Freebie and the Bean." In 1987, TV would become the bane of Harper's existence when she was fired from her popular sitcom "Valerie" (NBC, 1986-87), sparking an ensuing legal battle that threatened to derail Harper's career. In 1988, the comedienne emerged victorious, winning the landmark lawsuit. Harper continued acting over the next several decades, entertaining audiences with her brash,...

Perhaps no other actress evoked the edgy, freewheeling spirit of 1970s television than Emmy-winning actress Valerie Harper, whose star-making turn as the brassy, bold Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS, 1970-77) and its spin-off "Rhoda" (CBS, 1974-78) remained one of the most adulated performances in TV history. Harper began her career as a Broadway showgirl, making a name for herself in such high-profile productions as "Destry Rides Again" (1959) and "Wildcat" (1960), but it was on the small screen where she rose to fame. Harper won over audiences as Moore's wisecracking, headscarf-sporting best friend on the acclaimed series "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," a scene-stealing role she later reprised on her own sitcom "Rhoda." In 1974, she broke into film, playing Alan Arkin's wife in the comedy "Freebie and the Bean." In 1987, TV would become the bane of Harper's existence when she was fired from her popular sitcom "Valerie" (NBC, 1986-87), sparking an ensuing legal battle that threatened to derail Harper's career. In 1988, the comedienne emerged victorious, winning the landmark lawsuit. Harper continued acting over the next several decades, entertaining audiences with her brash, irreverent wit. Beloved for playing strong characters, Harper was even more resilient when it came to her personal life. Within a short window of time, she bravely battled both lung and brain cancer, with the latter being diagnosed as fatal in 2013. The news devastated millions, while Harper remained as courageous and inspirational as ever in the face of adversity.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
3.
 Golda's Balcony (2007)
4.
 Dancing at the Harvest Moon (2002) Claire
5.
 Mary and Rhoda (2000) Rhoda Morgenstern Gerard Rousseau
6.
 Great Mom Swap, The (1995) Grace Venessi
7.
 Death Of A Cheerleader (1994) Mrs Delvecchio
8.
9.
 Stolen: One Husband (1990) Katherine Slade
10.
 People Across the Lake, The (1988) Rachel Yoman
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Milestones close milestones

1956:
Was a member of the corps de ballet, Radio City Music Hall
1956:
Made film debut as an extra in "Rock, Rock, Rock!"
1958:
Made Broadway debut in chorus of "Li'l Abner," choreographed by Michael Kidd
1960:
Joined chorus of "Wildcat," starring Lucille Ball and directed by Kidd
:
Appeared with Second City company
1970:
Played title character's best friend Rhoda Morgenstern on CBS comedy series "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
1974:
TV movie debut, "Thursday's Game" (ABC)
1974:
First substantial role in features, "Freebie and the Bean"; nominated for a Golden Globe Award
1974:
Landed starring role on CBS spin-off comedy series "Rhoda" as her original character Rhoda Morgenstern
1979:
Had supporting role in Neil Simon's "Chapter Two"
1984:
Played Michael Caine's wife in Stanley Donen's "Blame It on Rio"
1986:
Starred on NBC sitcom "Valerie"; was fired at end of second season following a salary dispute with production company Lorimar; series continued as "Valerie's Family" and later renamed to "The Hogan Family"
1990:
Played lead on short-lived CBS sitcom "City"
1995:
Returned to series TV on short-lived sitcom "The Office" (CBS)
1995:
Returned to New York stage, replacing Linda Lavin in "Death Defying Acts"
1999:
Guest starred on HBO's "Sex and the City"
2000:
Re-teamed with Mary Tyler Moore for TV movie reunion "Mary and Rhoda" (ABC)
2001:
Succeeded Linda Lavin in Broadway production of "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife"
2001:
Ran for Screen Actors Guild president; lost to Melissa Gilbert
2007:
Portrayed Golda Meir in national tour of one-woman Broadway drama "Golda's Balcony"
2010:
Returned to Broadway to star as over-the-top screen legend Tallulah Bankhead in "Looped"
2011:
Played the aunt of Susan Delfino (Teri Hatcher) on ABC's "Desperate Housewives"
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Education

Hunter College: New York , New York -
New School for Social Research: New York , New York -

Notes

"People see me as their pal. A friend, a relative. It's a privilege--and so sweet." --Valerie Harper in New York Post, August 8, 1995.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Richard Schaal. Actor. Married in 1964; divorced in 1978; had daughter Wendy from previous marriage.
husband:
Tony Cacciotti. Personal trainer, producer, restaurateur. Married in 1987.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Howard Harper.
mother:
Iva McConnell Harper.
daughter:
Cristina Cacciotti. Adopted.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Today I'm a Ma'am: And Other Musings on Life, Beauty and Growing Older" Cliff Street Books

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