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Rhoda Faye Morgenstern Gerard Rousseau was a fictional character on the sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the subsequent spinoff series Rhoda. She was played by Emmy-award-winning actress Valerie Harper.

Mary's best friend

Rhoda was a window dresser at Hempel's department store in Minneapolis, Minnesotamarker and lived in the same house as Phyllis Lindstrom. She lived in an attic studio apartment, having moved to Minneapolis from New York Citymarker because (as she later jokingly mentioned in Rhoda's opening credits) she thought she would keep better in the cold.

She had been wanting the larger apartment on the level below where she had lived; but it had been promised to Mary Richards, since Phyllis had signed a year's lease on Mary's behalf (without her knowledge), to keep Rhoda out of the apartment. At first, Rhoda disliked Mary, mainly due to their competition over the apartment, but soon, the two bonded and became best friends. She and Phyllis maintained something of an adversarial relationship, but Rhoda had a great bond with Phyllis's young daughter, Bess Lindstrom, because she knew it would horrify the oblivious Phyllis. To Bess, she was "Aunt Rhoda". (In fact there was much doubt about the Rhoda character, who tested very poorly with audiences in the pilot. Mary Tyler Moore later said when they reshot the scenes with Bess, they had the child say "I like Aunt Rhoda," and this somewhat brought the next test audience around to the Rhoda character, thinking if a child likes her she is not really being "mean" to Mary, but sarcastic.)

Rhoda also had to contend with her parents, Ida Morgenstern and Martin Morgenstern. At various times, she had a sister named Debbie (Liberty Williams) (who appeared in a 1973 episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, but was never again seen or mentioned) and her more well-known sister, Brenda (Julie Kavner). In an early Mary Tyler Moore Show episode, Rhoda also mentions a brother, Arnold, who was never shown, but was mentioned twice.

After losing weight, Rhoda went to visit Brenda and eventually stayed. She met ruggedly handsome Joe Gerard (David Groh) and married him not long after she moved back to New York (in an hour-long special episode Rhoda's Wedding, broadcast in October 1974). The two moved into the same apartment building in which Brenda lived. The marriage soured after two years, and they divorced.

Soon after arriving in New York, Rhoda started her own window dressing company, but after a few years, she took a job at a run down costume company.

When Mary lost her job, she, along with Phyllis, whom she still had animosity with, flew to Minneapolis to be with Mary in her time of need.

She later gave up being a window dresser and pursued a career as a photographer.

Eventually, she remarried and divorced again, this time to a Frenchman named Jean-Pierre Rousseau. This second marriage produced her first child, a daughter named Meredith. It was revealed in the 2000 Mary and Rhoda TV movie that Mary had disliked Jean-Pierre, and her criticism of him caused her to become estranged from Rhoda. However, after several years, the two were reunited. Mary had been widowed, and had had a daughter of her own named Rose.


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