Valerie Harper, who starred as Rhoda on the hit TV show The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has passed away at the age of 80. She won hearts, fame, and Emmys during her career, and her no-nonsense say-it-how-it-is attitude made her shoot to stardom, and she will surely be missed.
According to her husband, Harper had suffered from cancer for years, and he had recently been told to put her in hospice care. She spoke of her illness back in 2013, saying, “I’m a big mouth. … I really want Americans and all of us to be less afraid of death, know that it’s a passage,” she said. “But don’t go to the funeral before the day of the funeral. While you’re living, live.” She talked about having a tumor removed in 2009, saying, “I’m well past my expiration date already. … I’ve had a good run. What more can I ask for?” she said.
Her breakout role was of course as Rhoda on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, eventually getting her own spinoff, Rhoda. Luckily, we have years of footage that will keep her spirit alive an keep us laughing. She inspired a generation of women, showing women they could break the mold society put women in at the time.
Friends and fans immediately started posting memories and prayers upon hearing the news.
I think Valerie Harper was awesome.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) August 30, 2019
Valerie Harper began her career as a dancer on Broadway. Here's young Valerie at 20 years old, protest dancing to save Carnegie Hall from demolition in 1959. She took ballet dancing from a school located here. pic.twitter.com/kf83nGTzVg
— The Bowery Boys Podcast (@BoweryBoys) August 30, 2019
A beautiful woman, a wonderful actress, a great friend and with balls bigger than mine. Her brilliance burst through and shined its light upon all of us. Goodnight beautiful. I’ll see you soon. pic.twitter.com/FicADkSAzS
— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) August 30, 2019
Even when she was down she danced and showed the world that she refused to let cancer beat her. Now Rhoda is with Mary in heaven. RIP Valerie Harper. You were the epitome of strength and humor. 😢🤟🏻 pic.twitter.com/CEGWl4hfhA
— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) August 30, 2019