Valerie Harper, who is best known for playing Rhoda in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died on Friday, August 30, at the age of 80, her family has confirmed.
My dad has asked me to pass on this message: “My beautiful caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06am, after years of fighting cancer.
She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, mia Valeria. -Anthony.”
— Cris (@cristicacci) August 30, 2019
Harper’s death comes after a prolonged cancer battle. She was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009. In 2013, she was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare complication of cancer that results when cancer cells spread to the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Following the diagnosis, her doctors said she would only live three months. But she survived much longer after undergoing chemotherapy. She was even able to compete on Dancing With the Stars Season 17 in 2013 after undergoing chemotherapy
Valerie Harper net worth
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Valerie Harper’s net worth in 2019 was $1 million.
Her protracted illness put a serious strain on Valerie and her husband Tony Cacciotti’s finances. Her family was forced to launch a GoFundMe to raise money for her medical care. The GoFundMe raised more than $66,000.
“Valerie is currently taking a multitude of medications and chemotherapy drugs as well as going through extreme physical and painful challenges now with around the clock, 24/7 care immediately needed which is not covered by insurance,” her friend Deanna wrote on the GoFundMe page. “This is just part of the daily cost that is without a doubt a financial burden that could never be met alone.”
Who was Valerie Harper?
Harper was born in August 1939 in Suffern, New York, to Iva Mildred and Howard Donald Harper. She had three siblings, Leah (older sister), Merril (younger brother), and Virginia (half-sister).
She attended Lincoln High School in New Jersey and Young’s Professional School. She started her career in show business in 1959 as a Broadway dancer and chorus girl in L’il Abner. She appeared in other Broadway shows, such as Take Me Along and Wildcat.
She joined the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore show in 1970. She starred in the show as Rhoda Morgenstern, alongside actress Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards.
She reprised her role as Rhoda in The Mary Tyler Moore spin-off Rhoda, which aired on CBS from 1974-1978.
She won four Emmy Awards for her role as Rhoda in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off Rhoda. Three of the Emmys were for her role in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and one for her role in Rhoda.
She appeared in several other TV series, including Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives.
Valerie is survived by her husband Tony Cacciotti and daughter Cristina.