Valerie Harper Biography, Age, Career, Health, Acting Role and Movies

Melanie Griffith born Valerie Kathryn Harper is an American actress. She played Rhoda Morgenstern in the 1970s television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show and in its spin-off, Rhoda. She later played Valerie Hogan in The Hogan Family. She is a four-time Primetime Emmy Award winner.

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Valerie Harper Biography

Valerie Harper born Valerie Kathryn Harper is an American actress. She played Rhoda Morgenstern in the 1970s television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show and in its spin-off, Rhoda. She later played Valerie Hogan in The Hogan Family. She is a four-time Primetime Emmy Award winner.

Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper Age

Melanie was born on 22 August 1939, Suffern, New York, United States. She is 79 years as of 2018.

Valerie Harper Height

She stands at a height of 1.68m.

Valerie Harper Image

Valerie Harper Image

Valerie Harper Daughter

Valarie and the late Tony adopted a daughter.

Valerie Harper Husband

Harper married actor Richard Schaal in 1964. They divorced in 1978. Harper later married Tony Cacciotti in 1987; the couple adopted a daughter.

Valerie Harper Career

Broadway dancer and improv

Harper began as a dancer and chorus girl on Broadway, 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 was in the ensemble cast of Paul Sill’s Story Theatre and toured with Second City with Schaal, Linda Lavin and others, later appearing in sketches on Playboy After Dark. Harper performed several characters in a comedy LP, When You’re in Love the Whole World is Jewish, which included the popular novelty single, The Ballad of Irving, a recitation by TV announcer Frank Gallop. Harper and Schaal moved to Los Angeles in 1968, and co-wrote an episode of Love, American Style.


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 characters together again in later life. The first season of Rhoda was released on DVD on April 21, 2009, by Shout! Factory.

She was nominated for a Golden Globe for “New Star of the Year” for her role in Freebie and The Bean (1974). Harper was a guest star on The Muppet Show in 1976, its first season.

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 CBS picked-up the series 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)

Valerie Harper Acting Role

For the rest of the 1960s, Harper worked on making her transition from dancer to actress. She began taking acting lessons under famous instructor Viola Spolin, whose son, Paul Sills, founded Chicago’s Second City Theater. After seeing her comedic talents, Sills invited Harper to join his company. Spurred on by her work at Second City, Harper returned to Broadway as an actress in Carl Reiner’s 1967 production of Something Different and Paul Sills’s 1970 production of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It was through her work with Second City that Harper also met Richard Schaal, whom she married in 1964. They stayed together for 14 years before divorcing. (Harper married Tony Cacciotti in 1987, and they have one daughter, Christine Cacciotti.)
In 1970, with no television acting experience on her résumé save a few turns as an extra, Harper was cast in a prominent role in the popular CBS sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Harper played Rhoda Morgenstern, a Jewish girl from the Bronx who befriends her neighbor, Mary. The role instantly transformed Harper into a television star, and she won three consecutive Emmy Awards (1971-1973) for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her performance. In 1974, Harper’s character received her own spin-off show, Rhoda. Rhoda also proved a big hit, sometimes even earning better ratings than its parent show. In 1975, Harper won both the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Since Rhoda went off the air in 1978, Harper has continued to appear frequently on the big screen and on TV. She has acted in the films Freebie and the Bean (1974), The Last Married Couple in America (1980), Blame it on Rio (1984) and the TV movie Mary and Rhoda (2000). She has also appeared on numerous popular televisions shows, including City (1990), Touched by an Angel (1996, 1999), Sex and the City (1999) and That ’70s Show (2001).

In 1986, NBC gave Harper her own show, Valerie, a family-oriented sitcom Harper hoped would revive her career as a television star. However, the show became the source of one of the greatest legal disputes in TV history when, after two seasons, NBC suddenly fired Harper from her own show. Harper sued NBC for wrongful dismissal, demanding damages and an injunction against using her name in the show’s title. NBC then countersued Harper for libel. In the end, Harper won some of the damages she sought and NBC changed the name of the show to The Hogan Family.

Valerie Harper Health|  Coma| Valerie Harper Brain Cancer

In the year 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 was reported to be incurable, her doctors said they were treating her with chemotherapy in an effort to slow its progress. In April 2014, Harper said she was responding well to the treatment. On July 30, 2015, Harper was hospitalized in Maine after falling unconscious, and taken via medevac to a larger hospital for further treatment. She was later discharged.

In 2016, Harper continued battling cancer with treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center but was well enough to appear in a short film, “My Mom and the Girl,” based on the experiences of director/writer Susie Singer Carter, whose mother has Alzheimer’s disease. In September 2017, she made this comment: “People are saying, ‘She’s on her way to death and quickly’. Now it’s five years instead of three months … I’m going to fight this. I’m going to see a way.” At the time, Harper was developing a TV series with Carter

Valerie Harper Last Days

Valerie Harper Hogan Family

She played Valerie Hogan in The Hogan Family.

Valerie Harper Movies





My Mom and the Girl


Stars in Shorts: No Ordinary Love



Merry Xmas



The Town That Came A-Courtin’




Audrey Alden

My Future Boyfriend

Bobbi Moreau

Fixing Pete

Mrs. Friedlander




Golda’s Balcony

Golda Meir


Dancing at the Harvest Moon



Mary and Rhoda

Rhoda Morgenstern-Rousseau


Dog’s Best Friend

Chicken (voice)


The Great Mom Swap

Grace Venessi


A Friend to Die For

Mrs. Delvecchio


The Poetry Hall of Fame



Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Fashion

Dyan Draper


Stolen: One Husband

Katherine Slade


Drop-Out Mother

Nora Cromwell

The People Across the Lake

Rachel Yoman


Strange Voices

Lynn Glover


The Execution

Hannah Epstein


Blame It on Rio

Karen Hollis


An Invasion of Privacy

Kate Bianchi


Farrell for the People

Elizabeth “Liz” Farrell

Don’t Go to Sleep



The Day the Loving Stopped

Norma Danner


The Last Married Couple in America



Fun and Games

Carol Hefferman

The Shadow Box



Chapter Two

Faye Medwick


Night Terror

Carol Turner


Thursday’s Game

Ann Menzente

Freebie and the Bean



The Shape of Things



With a Feminine Touch


Trash Program

Wife (voice, uncredited)


Li’l Abner

Luke’s Wife (uncredited)


Rock, Rock, Rock!

Dancer at Prom (uncredited)

Valerie Harper TV Shows





Childrens Hospital

Mamma Fiorucci, head of the Fiorucci crime family


Melissa & Joey

Aunt Bunny

2 Broke Girls



American Dad!

IHOP Diner

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Theresa Capodiamonte


The Simpsons

Various Characters


Hot in Cleveland


Dancing with the Stars

Herself (Contestant)


Drop Dead Diva

Judge Leslie Singer


Desperate Housewives

Claire Bremmer


‘Til Death




Lily Solomon


Less than Perfect



That ’70s Show


Family Law


Three Sisters

Merle Keats


Beggars and Choosers


As Told by Ginger

Maryellen (voice)


Sex and the City

Wallis Wysel


Generator Gawl

Various (voice)

Melrose Place

Mia Mancini

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

Townspeople (voice)


Touched by an Angel

Kate Prescott


Promised Land

Molly Arnold


The Office

Rita Stone


Missing Persons

Ellen Hartig



Liz Gianni



Valerie Hogan


The Love Boat

Laurel Peters





The Muppet Show



John Denver Rocky Mountain Christmas 1975 TV Special




Rhoda Morgenstern Gerard



Eve Babcock


Story Theatre


Love, American Style

Barbara Watkins


The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Rhoda Morgenstern

Valerie Harper Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Richards is a thirty-something single woman who settles in Minneapolis after breaking up with a boyfriend. She lands a job as an associate producer of the evening news at WJM-TV, which happens to be the area’s lowest-rated station. Her boss, Lou Grant, hates her spunk but often looks to her to solve newsroom (or even personal) problems. Mary’s other coworkers include news writer Murray Slaughter, egomaniacal anchorman Ted Baxter and “Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White). Mary’s home is a modest studio apartment — and her upstairs neighbor, Rhoda Morgenstern, quickly becomes a good friend. Later in the series, Mary moves to a plush high-rise apartment before leaving Minneapolis and WJM for good.
First episode date: 19 September 1970
Theme song: Love Is All Around
Network: CBS
Spin-offs: Rhoda, Lou Grant, Phyllis

Valerie Harper Later Years

In her later years, Harper returned to the place where she first made a name for herself—the stage. In 2007, she portrayed former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in a national tour of the one-person show Golda’s Balcony. And in 2010, she returned to Broadway to star as actress Tallulah Bankhead in the play Looped, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress.

In January 2013, Harper received some heartbreaking news. She was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Doctors gave her only a few months to live. That March, Harper shared her tragic news with People magazine. She remained upbeat despite her terminal illness, telling People that “I don’t think of dying. I think of being here now.”

By that summer, Harper received some amazing news. She appeared on the Today show in August to discuss how her illness had responded positively to treatment. While her disease is still incurable, Harper has bought herself more time to enjoy her life. She announced in September that she would be joining the cast of Dancing With the Stars. On the dance competition, Harper competed against actress Leah Remini and science expert and television personality Bill Nye among others. She was eliminated after a less-than-stellar performance of a Viennese waltz. Harper told ABC News that she wasn’t upset about leaving the show. “I’m happy to have been here for four weeks.” She further explained that “If the show’s about good dancing and achieving ballroom styles, I wasn’t there yet.”

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