Valerie Harper Dies; Beloved TV Star Was 80

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The televisionw world is in mourning.

Valerie Harper, a veteran actress best known for having played one of TV’s most popular and enduring characters died on Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

She was 80 years old.

Valerie Harper Snapshot

Harper enjoyed a long and highly respected acting career.

However, she will forever be remembered for taking on the role of the constantly dating, constantly dieting Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler  Moore Show.

Her passing was confirmed late Friday via statement on behalf of the late star’s husband, Tony Cacciotti:

It read as follows:

“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."

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Harper had been dealing with a number of health issues over the past few years, including leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, lung cancer and brain cancer.

On July 8, just about two months before she died, a family friend set up a GoFundMe page titled “The Valerie Harper Cancer Support Fund."

It was meant to assist Harper with her daily “unrelenting medical costs” so that she would receive “the best care possible.”

Within the first week, the campaign had raised over $40,000 from friends, family and many of Harper’s long-time fans and supporters.


Back in 2013, the actress was given a mere three months to live after being diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, an extremely rare condition in which cancer cells spread to the membranes surrounding the brain.

And yet:

She defied the odds after undergoing chemotherapy treatments, even competing on Dancing With the Stars later that same year. Incredibly.

“People are saying, ‘She’s on her way to death and quickly,’” she told Fox News in September of 2017. “Now it’s five years instead of three months.”

Harper debuted in her iconic role the kooky neighbor from New York on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970.

She won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress that same year, despite the comedy struggling in the ratings at first.

the harp

From 1974 through 1978, she anchored the spin-off Rhoda, later winning the Best Actress Emmy.

When this character got married on October 28, 1974, the special hour-long episode destroyed ratings records with 52 million viewers.

The actress also starred on Valerie (also titled Valerie’s Family and The Hogan Family), in addition to films such as Freebie and the Bean and Chapter Two.

She earned a Tony Award nomination in 2010 for her performance as Tallulah Bankhead in Looped.

Harper is survived by Tony, whom she married in 1987, and their daughter, Cristina.

May she rest in peace.

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