- Title: Valerie Harper, Rhoda on 'Mary Tyler Moore Show,' Dies at 80
- Date: 31st August 2019
- Summary: PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FILE - 2017) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VALERIE HARPER AND HUSBAND, TONY CACCIOTTI ARRIVING TO PALM SPRINGS FILM FESTIVAL LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FILE - 2004) (REUTERS) HARPER AND CACCIOTTI ARRIVING FOR TV LAND AWARDS LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FILE - JANUARY 28, 2007) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MARY TYLER MOORE CAST (LEFT TO RIGHT) BETTY WHITE, VALERIE HARPER, MARY TYLER MOORE SPEAKING TO REPORTER
- Embargoed: 14th September 2019 01:43
- Keywords: Valerie Harper health actress cancer Rhoda
- Location: PALM SPRINGS + LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA + NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / INTERNET
- Topics: Celebrities,Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA001AUEVY31
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY
Actress Valerie Harper, who won four Emmy awards playing budding feminist Rhoda Morgenstern on the classic 1970s TV series "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and her own spinoff sitcom, died on Friday (August 30) at the age of 80.
Harper died on Friday morning, her daughter Cristina Cacciotti said, declining to give further details. Harper's husband, Tony Cacciotti, said in July that doctors advised that the actress, who was suffering from brain cancer, be placed in hospice care.
Harper had revealed to People magazine in March 2013 she had leptomeningeal carcinomatosis - cancer cells in the membrane of her brain.
She made a surprising comeback after the 2013 diagnosis, which had given her only months to live. Just seven months later she competed on the "Dancing With the Stars" program and in 2015 made an appearance on the sitcom "2 Broke Girls."
Harper, who also was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, stayed busy campaigning for cancer research and taking occasional acting and voice-over jobs as recently as earlier this year.
Harper was still relatively inexperienced as an actress in 1970 when she was cast on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" - one of the most honored U.S. television shows of the 1970s - as Rhoda Morgenstern, the best friend and neighbor of Moore's Mary Richards character in Minneapolis.
Rhoda was a Bronx-born career girl who was constantly trying to lose weight, find a boyfriend and dodge her meddling Jewish mother. She had a brassy Bohemian streak, as exemplified by her trademark headscarves, and a grasp of emerging feminist concepts but her self-deprecating wisecracks showed her vulnerabilities.
Harper won three straight Emmys for best supporting actress in a comedy on Moore's show - 1971 through 1973 - and in 1974 Time magazine featured the two of them in a cover story titled "TV's Funny Girls."
Harper was born in Suffern, New York on Aug. 22, 1939, and moved around the country due to her father's sales job before settling in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Harper began her entertainment career in the late 1950s as a chorus girl on Broadway. To gain acting experience, she joined Chicago's Second City Theatre, which would become one of the country's top comedy proving grounds.
She embraced liberal politics, taking part in civil rights, anti-war and anti-poverty demonstrations before becoming a star, and was active in the Screen Actors Guild.
Harper's first husband was television actor Richard Schaal, another Second City veteran who also appeared on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda," from whom she was divorced in 1978. In 1987 she married Cacciotti, a fitness trainer hired to help her get in shape for a swimsuit scene in the movie "Chapter Two."
(Production: Alicia Powell / Temis Tormo)
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