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Valerie Harper (born August 22, 1939) is an Americanmarker actress, best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on the 1970s television show The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and its spin-off, Rhoda.


Harper was born in Suffern, New Yorkmarker at Good Samaritan Hospital in Rockland Countymarker, New Yorkmarker, to a mixed Catholic/Lutheran family. Her mother, Iva (née McConnell), was a nurse, and her father, Howard Harper, was a sales executive. She was reared in Oregonmarker. She has been married to Tony Cacciotti since 1987.


Harper began as a dancer/chorus girl on Broadwaymarker in the late 1950s and early 1960s in such shows such as Take Me Along and Subways Are For Sleeping, as well as Wildcat, in which she performed with Lucille Ball. She can be seen as an extra in rock-and-roll promo films that featured such artists as "Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers". In 2001, she returned to the Broadway stage to replace Linda Lavin in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife.

She also appeared in bit parts in several films beginning with Li'l Abner (1959), when she was a teenager. During the late 1960s, however, Harper worked somewhat less, though she appeared in Carl Reiner's play Something Different in 1968. She also wrote an episode of Love, American Style with her then-husband, actor/writer, Richard Schaal, whose daughter, actress Wendy Schaal (who voices "Francine Smith" on American Dad), was her stepdaughter.

Things changed when Harper got the role of the wise-cracking yet vulnerable uber-Jewish New Yorker, Rhoda Morgenstern, on the landmark CBS 1970 TV sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was a series regular from 1970-74, then starred in her own spin-off series Rhoda from 1974-78. Both series were ratings hits and she won four Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for her work as Rhoda Morgenstern throughout this period.

She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for "New Star of the Year" for her role in 1974's Freebie and The Bean. Harper was one of the first people to guest star on The Muppet Show in its first season.

Some years later, Harper returned to situation comedy when she played family matriarch Valerie Hogan on the 1986 series Valerie. However, following a salary dispute with the production company Lorimar in 1987, Harper was fired from the series. She later successfully sued Lorimar for breach of contract, though the series continued without her. In 1987, it was initially renamed Valerie's Family and then The Hogan Family, as Harper was replaced by actress Sandy Duncan who played her sister-in-law Sandy Hogan. The series ended in 1991.

Harper has worked almost exclusively in theatre and television, but did have key supporting roles in Neil Simon's Chapter Two in 1979 and Stanley Donen's Blame It on Rio (1984) opposite Michael Caine. She has had roles in TV movies and guest spots on a number of series, including Melrose Place in 1998 and Sex and the City in 1999. Also in the 1990s, she advocated hormone replacement therapy for Eli Lilly and Company.

Harper is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and ran for president in the 2001 election, losing to Melissa Gilbert. She currently serves on the national board of directors of SAG.

A 2000 project, Mary and Rhoda, was planned as a reunion series for Harper and her friend and longtime co-star, Mary Tyler Moore, but the project instead appeared as a made-for-TV movie on the ABC network.

In 2007, Harper portrayed Golda Meir in a national tour of the one-woman Broadway drama Golda's Balcony. She also released a film version of the show.

She played Tallulah Bankhead in the world-premiere production of Matthew Lombardo's "Looped" at the Pasadena Playhousemarker in California in 2008, and is doing so at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, in 2009.

The 1st season of "Rhoda" (September 1974 - March 1975) was released on DVD on April 21, 2009 by Shout! Factory.





Emmy Awards

  • 1978 Outstanding Lead Actress — Comedy Series - Rhoda
  • 1977 Outstanding Lead Actress — Comedy Series - Rhoda
  • 1976 Outstanding Lead Actress — Comedy Series - Rhoda
  • 1974 Outstanding Supporting Actress — Comedy Series - The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Golden Globe Awards
  • 1974 - Winner — Actress In A Leading Role — Musical Or Comedy Series - Rhoda



  2. Valerie Harper:
  3. Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors

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