'Rhoda' actress Valerie Harper dies at 80, family says

Valerie Harper, the actress known for her roles in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda," has died one week after her 80th birthday.

Explore>> Read more trending news

Harper's family confirmed to KABC-TV that the actress died shortly after 10 a.m. Friday.

Harper's cause of death was not immediately known but she had battled leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, lung cancer and brain cancer in recent years, People Magazine reported.

Harper began working as a Broadway actress in 1956, but rose to fame when playing the character Rhoda Morganstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" from 1970 to 1977. Her character got her own spin-off, "Rhoda," which ran from 1974 to 1978.

Between "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda," Harper won four Emmys and one Golden Globe, according to KABC-TV.

Ed Asner, who costarred with Harper on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," tweeted a tribute to her Friday.

Starting in 1986, Harper starred in the shortlived NBC sitcom, "Valerie."

Harper continued working on stage and screen well into her '70s. In 2010 she was nominated for her performance in the Broadway comedy "Looped," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Harper announced in 2013 that she had been diagnosed with eptomeningeal carcinomatosis and was originally given three months to live, People Magazine reported.

The resilient actress continued working despite the diagnosis. She appeared as a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2013. In 2017, she played a mother facing an Alzheimers diagnosis in the short film, "My Mom and the Girl," and did voice work for "American Dad!" and "The Simpsons," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Harper is survived by her husband, Tony Cacciotti, and daughter Cristina.

About the Author