Harper at a 2007 SAG Foundation brunch
|Born||Valerie Kathryn Harper
August 22, 1939
Suffern, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Richard Schaal (1964-1978)
Tony Cacciotti (1987-present; 1 child)
Valerie Kathryn Harper (born August 22, 1939) is an American actress known for her roles as Rhoda Morgenstern in the 1970s television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Rhoda, and later as Valerie Hogan in Valerie.
Harper was born in Suffern, New York, the middle child of three siblings. She claims her parents were expecting a boy and after her arrival her first and middle names derived from that year's women's doubles tennis champions, Valerie Scott and Kay Stammers. Her Canadian-born mother, Iva Mildred (née McConnell), was a nurse, and her father, Howard Donald Harper, was a lighting salesman. She is of French, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry. She has an older sister, Leah; a younger brother, Merrill (who later took the name "Don") and a half-sister, Virginia, from her father's second marriage. Harper claims to have based her future character Rhoda Morgenstern on her Italian stepmother, Angela Posillico, and Penny Ann Green (née Joanna Greenberg), with whom she danced in the Broadway musical Wildcat. She was raised Catholic, although at an early age she "quit" the church.
The family moved every two years due to her father's work, attending schools in South Orange, New Jersey; Pasadena, California; Monroe, Michigan; Ashland, Oregon; and Jersey City, New Jersey. When her family returned to Oregon, Harper remained in the New York City area to study ballet. She attended Lincoln High School in Jersey City, graduating from the private Young Professionals School on West 56th Street, where classmates included Sal Mineo, Tuesday Weld, and Carol Lynley.
Broadway dancer and improv
Harper began as a dancer/chorus girl on Broadway in 1959 in the musical Li'l Abner and went on to perform in several Broadway shows, some choreographed by Michael Kidd, including Wildcat (starring Lucille Ball), Take Me Along (starring Jackie Gleason), and Subways Are For Sleeping. In-between she was also cast in Destry Rides Again but was forced to leave rehearsals due to illness. Her roommate, actress Arlene Golonka, introduced her to Second City improvisation theater and to improv performer Dick Schaal, whom Harper later married in 1965. Harper was stepmother to Schaal's daughter, Wendy, an actress. They lived in Greenwich Village. She returned to Broadway in February 2010, playing Tallulah Bankhead in Matthew Lombardo's Looped at the Lyceum Theatre.
Harper appeared in a bit part in the film version of Li'l Abner (1959), playing a Yokumberry Tonic wife. She broke into television on an episode of the soap opera The Doctors ("Zip Guns can Kill"). She was an extra in Love with the Proper Stranger. She toured with Second City with Schaal, Linda Lavin and others, later appearing in sketches on Playboy After Dark. Harper and Schaal moved to Los Angeles in 1968, and co-wrote an episode of Love, American Style.
In 1966, Harper appeared as a member of the cast on the classic ensemble comedy recording, "When You're In Love The Whole World is Jewish," along with her future TV Jewish Mother, Nancy Walker.
While doing theater in Los Angeles in 1970, Harper was spotted by casting agent Ethel Winant, who called her in to audition for the role of Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She co-starred from 1970–1974 and then starred in the spin-off series, Rhoda (CBS 1974-1978) in which her character returned to New York. She won four Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for her work as Rhoda Morgenstern throughout this period. In 2000, Harper reunited with Moore in Mary and Rhoda, a TV movie that brought their iconic characters back together again in later life. The first season of Rhoda was released on DVD on April 21, 2009 by Shout! Factory.
Harper returned to situation comedy in 1986 when she played family matriarch Valerie Hogan on the NBC series Valerie. Following a salary dispute with NBC and production company Lorimar in 1987, Harper was fired from the series at the end of its second season. Harper sued NBC and Lorimar for breach of contract. Her claims against NBC were dismissed, but the jury found that Lorimar had wrongfully fired her and awarded her $1.4 million plus 12.5 percent of the show's profits. The series continued without her with the explanation that her character had died off-screen. 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. NBC canceled The Hogan Family in 1990, but it was picked up by CBS for a final season.
Harper appeared in various television movies, including a performance as Maggie in a production of the Michael Cristofer play The Shadow Box, directed by Paul Newman, and in guest roles on such series as Melrose Place (1998) and Sex and the City (1999).
She played Tallulah Bankhead in the world-premiere production of Matthew Lombardo's Looped at the Pasadena Playhouse from June 27 to August 3, 2008, and at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. in 2009. The play had a brief run on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre, from February 2010 (previews) through April 2010. She played Claire Bremmer, aunt of Susan Delfino (Teri Hatcher), on ABC's Desperate Housewives in 2011. On September 4, 2013, ABC's Good Morning America announced Harper had been selected as a contestant on the 17th season of Dancing with the Stars. She was partnered with professional dancer Tristan MacManus. Harper and MacManus were voted off on October 7, 2013.
Harper and Schaal divorced in 1978. Harper married Tony Cacciotti in 1987; the couple has a daughter by adoption.
In the 1970s/80s, Harper was involved in the Women's Liberation Movement and was an advocate of the Equal Rights Amendment. With Dennis Weaver she co-founded L.I.F.E. in 1983, a charity that fed thousands of needy in Los Angeles.
In 2009, Harper was diagnosed with lung cancer. She announced on March 6, 2013 that tests from a January hospital stay revealed she has leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition in which cancer cells spread into the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain. She said her doctors had given her as little as three months' life expectancy. Although the disease is incurable, her doctors said they were treating her with chemotherapy in an effort to slow its progress.
|1956||Rock Rock Rock!||Dancer at Prom (uncredited)|
|1959||Li'l Abner||Luke's Wife (uncredited)|
|1963||Trash Program||Wife (voice, uncredited)||Short film|
|1969||With a Feminine Touch|
|1974||Freebie and the Bean||Bean's Wife|
|1979||Chapter Two||Faye Medwick|
|1980||Last Married Couple in America, TheThe Last Married Couple in America||Barbara|
|1984||Blame It on Rio||Karen Hollis|
|2007||Golda's Balcony||Golda Meir|
|2014||The Town That Came A-Courtin'||Charlotte|
|1970–1977||Mary Tyler Moore Show, TheThe Mary Tyler Moore Show||Rhoda Morgenstern||90 episodes (1970-74)as a series regular; two appearances as a guest star (1975-77)|
|1971||Story Theatre||TV series|
|1971||Love, American Style||Barbara Watkins||Episode: "Love and the Housekeeper"|
|1972||Columbo||Eve Babcock||Episode: "The Most Crucial Game"|
|1973||Shape of Things, TheThe Shape of Things||TV movie|
|1974||Thursday's Game||Ann Menzente||TV movie|
|1974–1978||Rhoda||Rhoda Morgenstern Gerard||110 episodes|
|1976||The Muppet Show||Herself||Episode 10, Season 1|
Night Terror (original title)
|Carol Turner||TV movie|
|1980||Fun and Games||Carol Hefferman||TV movie|
|1980||Shadow Box, TheThe Shadow Box||Maggie||TV movie|
|1981||The Day the Loving Stopped||Norma Danner||TV movie|
|1982||Farrell for the People||Elizabeth "Liz" Farrell||TV movie|
|1982||Don't Go to Sleep||Laura||TV movie|
|1983||Invasion of Privacy, AnAn Invasion of Privacy||Kate Bianchi||TV movie|
|1985||Execution, TheThe Execution||Hannah Epstein||TV movie|
|1986||Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat||Laurel Peters||Episode: "Egypt: Part 1"
Episode: "Egypt: Part 2"
|1986||Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, TheThe Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||1 episode|
|1986–1987||Valerie||Valerie Hogan||32 episodes|
|1987||Strange Voices||Lynn Glover||TV movie|
|1988||Drop-Out Mother||Nora Cromwell||TV movie|
|1988||People Across the Lake, TheThe People Across the Lake||Rachel Yoman||TV movie|
|1990||Stolen: One Husband||Katherine Slade||TV movie|
|1990||City||Liz Gianni||13 episodes|
|1991||Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Fashion||Dyan Draper||TV movie|
|1993||Poetry Hall of Fame, TheThe Poetry Hall of Fame||TV movie|
|1994||Missing Persons||Ellen Hartig||3 episodes|
|1994||Friend to Die For, AA Friend to Die For||Mrs. Delvecchio||TV movie|
|1995||Office, TheThe Office||Rita Stone||6 episodes|
|1995||Great Mom Swap, TheThe Great Mom Swap||Grace||TV movie|
|1996||Touched by an Angel||Kate Prescott||Episode: "Flesh and Blood"|
|1996||Promised Land||Molly Arnold||Episode: "The Magic Gate"|
|1997||Dog's Best Friend||Chicken (voice)||TV movie|
|1998||Generator Gawl||Various||TV series|
|1998||Melrose Place||Mia Mancini||Episode: "Mama Mia"
Episode: "Last Train to Baghdad"
|1998||Sorcerous Stabber Orphen||Townspeople (voice)||Episode: "The Sword of Baltanders"|
|1999||Touched by an Angel||Kate Prescott||Episode: "Full Circle"|
|1999||Sex and the City||Wallis Wysel||Episode: "Shortcomings"|
|2000||Mary and Rhoda||Rhoda Morgenstern Gerard Rousseau||TV movie|
|2000||Beggars and Choosers||Episode: "Be Careful What You Wish For"|
|2000||As Told by Ginger||Maryellen (voice)||Episode: "The Wedding Frame"|
|2001||That '70s Show||Paula||Episode: "Eric's Naughty No-no"|
|2001||Family Law||Julia||Episode: "Clemency"|
|2001||Three Sisters||Merle Keats||Episode: "The In-Laws"
Episode: "Three Thanksgivings, One Turkey'
|2002||Dancing at the Harvest Moon||Claire||TV movie|
|2003||Less Than Perfect||Judith||Episode: "Claude's Alternative Thanksgiving"|
|2004||Less Than Perfect||Judith||Episode: "Mom's the Word"|
|2005||Committed||Lily Solomon||Episode: "The Mother Episode"|
|2009||'Til Death||Barbara||Episode: "The Courtship of Eddie's Parents"|
|2011||Desperate Housewives||Claire Bremmer||Episode: "Where Do I Belong?"|
|2011||My Future Boyfriend||Bobbi Moreau||TV movie|
|2011||Fixing Pete||Mrs. Friedlander||TV movie|
|2011||Drop Dead Diva||Judge Leslie Singer||Episode: "Bride-a-Palooza"|
|2012||Drop Dead Diva||Judge Leslie Singer||Episode: "Freak Show"|
|2013||The Simpsons||Department of Standardized Testing Proctor||Episode: "A Test Before Trying"|
|1959–1960||Take Me Along||Lady Entertainer, Townswoman|
|1961–1962||Subways Are for Sleeping||Dancer|
|1967–1968||Something Different||Beth Nemerov||Replacement|
|1970–1971||Paul Sills' Story Theatre||Various|
|1995||Death Defying Acts|
|1998-1999||All Under Heaven|
|2001–2002||Tale of the Allergist's Wife, TheThe Tale of the Allergist's Wife||Marjorie||Replacement|
Awards and nominations
|1971||Primetime Emmy||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Won|
|1972||Primetime Emmy||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Won|
|1972||Golden Globe||Best Supporting Actress – Television||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Nominated|
|1973||Primetime Emmy||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Won|
|1973||Golden Globe||Best Supporting Actress - Television||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Nominated|
|1974||Primetime Emmy||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Nominated|
|1974||Golden Globe||New Female Star of the Year||Freebie and the Bean||Nominated|
|1974||Golden Globe||Best Actress in a TV Comedy Series||Rhoda||Won|
|1975||Primetime Emmy||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Rhoda||Won|
|1975||Golden Globe||Best Actress in a TV Comedy Series||Rhoda||Nominated|
|1976||Primetime Emmy||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Rhoda||Nominated|
|1977||Primetime Emmy||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Rhoda||Nominated|
|1978||Primetime Emmy||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Rhoda||Nominated|
|1979||Golden Globe||Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture||Chapter Two||Nominated|
|2010||Tony Awards||Best Actress in a Play||Looped||Nominated|
- Archive of American Television oral history, February 26, 2009
- Harper, Valerie. I Rhoda: A Memoir © 2013. Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster, Inc.); ISBN 978-1-4516-9946-3/ISBN 978-1-4516-9948-7 (ebok), pg. 8
- "Good as Golda; Yes, that is veteran actress Valerie Harper playing Israel's 1970s prime minister in a play coming soon to Toronto. Turns out Rhoda Morgenstern has Canadian roots". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Bawden 1987.
- "Ask Them Yourself". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 1973-07-28.
- Jacobs 2008, p. 1.
- Lacher 2008.
- Gregory 2002, p. 35.
- "LoopedOnBraodway.com". Loopedonbroadway.com. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "'Mary and Rhoda' TV Movie listing" emmytvlegends.org, accessed January 26, 2011
- "Rhoda - Formal Press Release from Shout! Factory for Rhoda's 1st Season DVDs" tvshowsondvd.com, accessed January 26, 2011
- "Valerie Harper profile". Thegoldenglobes.com. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "'The Muppet Show', Air Date November 22, 1976, Valerie Harper" tv.com, accessed January 26, 2011
- Weinman 2008.
- Hutchings 1987.
- Brennan 1988.
- Farber 1988.
- Lacayo & Seufert 1988.
- "'Hogan Family Jump to CBS Called an Exception", Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1990
- Hollywood Board of Directors, 2010-11[dead link]
- US Tour, Golda Balcony met.com, retrieved April 5, 2010
- Olson, John."Review: 'Golda's Balcony', LaSalle Bank Theatre" at talkinbroadway.com, June 2, 2006
- Golda's Balcony IMDb listing, retrieved April 5, 2010
- Pasadena Playhouse: Looped. WebCitation.org archive.
- Arena Stage: Looped[dead link]
- Jones, Kenneth."'Looped' Will Play Its Final Fadeout April 11" playbill.com, April 5, 2010
- "Keck's Exclusives: Rhoda Comes to Desperate Housewives". TVGuide.com. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
- "Valerie Harper profile". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- ""Valerie Harper She Doesn't Mince Words; She's Here For Equality"". News.google.com. 1980-09-20. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- ANTONIO OLIVO (October 06, 1994). "Info re L.I.F.E. (charity)". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "Album`s Proceeds To Go To Charity". Sun Sentinel. 1992-10-23. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Lloyd, Janice (March 6, 2013). "Harper's brain cancer likely related to previous cancer". USA Today.
- Tauber, Michelle; Dodd, Johnny (March 6, 2013). "Valerie Harper Has Terminal Brain Cancer". People. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
- Dodd, Johnny; Tauber, Michelle (March 6, 2013). "Valerie Harper's Rare Cancer Explained". People. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
- Reference bibliography
- Bawden, Jim (1987-06-28). "The hits keep on coming for Valerie Harper". Toronto Star. pp. C.1.
- Brennan, Patricia (1988-10-02). "Life After Lawsuit". The Washington Post.
- Farber, Stephen (1988-10-03). "Harper in TV Film on Network She Sued". The New York Times.
- Hutchings, David (1987-10-19). "Suing the Bosses Who Bounced Her, a Bitter Valerie Harper Fights to Save Her Reputation". People.
- Jacobs, Andrea (2008-08-20). "Valerie Harper: 'Jewish in my heart'". Intermountain Jewish News.
- Lacayo, Richard; Seufert, Nancy (1988-08-29). "Law: Tell It to the Rent-a-Judge". Time.
- Lacher, Irene (2008-07-06). "Valerie Harper tackles Tallulah". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 16, 2010. "Harper is actually Catholic,..."
- Gregory, Mollie (2002). Women who run the show. St. Martin's Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-312-30182-8. "That was the end of the Catholic church for me. I quit. I had a big click."
- Weinman, Jaime (2008-11-28). "The 20th Anniversary Of the Most Awesomest TV Contract Dispute Ever". MacLeans.ca.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Valerie Harper.|
- Valerie Harper official website
- FilmReference profile
- Valerie Harper at the Internet Movie Database
- Archive of American Television
- Valerie Harper at the Internet Broadway Database
- Valerie Harper at the Internet Off-Broadway Database