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Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper
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Valerie Harper Biography

Valerie Harper (born August 22, 1940 in Suffern, New York) is an American actress, best known for the 1970s television role of Rhoda Morgenstern-Gerard, which she played on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and its spinoff, Rhoda. Harper was born in Suffern, Rockland County, New York, to a mixed Catholic/Protestant family, and raised in Oregon, and started out as a dancer/chorus girl on Broadway in the late 1950s and early 1960s in such shows such as Take Me Along and Subways Are for Sleeping, as well as Wildcat, on which she performed with Lucille Ball. 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 two CBS TV sitcoms of the 1970s: The Mary Tyler Moore Show (she was a regular from 1970 - 1974) and its spin-off Rhoda (1974 - 1978), in which she played the title role. She won four Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for her work as Rhoda Morgenstern on both series. She also picked up a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year for her role in 1974's Freebie and The Bean. She also played family matriarch Valerie Hogan on the 1986 sitcom Valerie. It was renamed Valerie's Family in 1987 and finally The Hogan Family in 1988 after Harper abruptly left the series (following a dispute with the producers) and was replaced by Sandy Duncan. Harper has worked almost exclusively in television, and has also had roles in made-for-TV-movies and guest spots on a number of series, including Sex and the City. In the 1990s, she advocated hormone replacement therapy for the Eli Lilly company. Harper is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and ran for President in the 2001 election, being beaten in a bitter election feud by actress Melissa Gilbert. 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. Read Full Bio >>

Valerie Harper Awards

2004 TV Land Awards "Mary Tyler Moore" (1970). Won
2003 TV Land Awards Hippest Fashion Plate - Female "Rhoda" (1974). Nominated
1987 Women in Film Crystal Awards Won
1980 Golden Globes, USA Best Motion Picture Actress in a Supporting Role Chapter Two (1979). Nominated
1978 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series "Rhoda" (1974). Nominated

Show All Awards >>

Valerie Harper Trivia

  • Is a graduate of the Erhard Seminars Training (AKA est).
  • Daughter, Cristina, born 1983
  • Stepdaughter, Wendy Schaal, is an actress.
  • Valerie was born at Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern, N.Y.
  • She and her then husband actor Richard Schaal were also a writing team and wrote a script for the series "Love, American Style" (1969) called "Love and the Visitor", back in the early 70's.
  • In the fall of 1987, she was abruptedly fired by Lorimar from her NBC TV-Series "Valerie" (1986). She didn't show for filming one day. The series decided to continue on without her as "Valerie's Family" with Sandy Duncan playing Sandy Hogan replacing Valerie Harper's "Valerie Hogan" character. Ms. Harper went to court with Lorimar over breach of contract and in the fall of 1988 was awarded 1.4 million dollars plus 12.5% of the profits of the show that continued on without her until 1991.
  • Measurements: 36-26 1/2-40 (while on "Mary Tyler Moore" (1970)), 35 1/2-24-36 (trimmed down for her "Rhoda" (1974) spin-off). (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
  • Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 206-207. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387

Valerie Harper Photos

  • Valerie Harper

    64th Annual Tony Awards - Arrivals

  • Valerie Harper

    Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel's Winter 2012 TV Critics Association Press Tour Evening Gala - Arrivals

  • Tricia Leigh Fisher, Joely Fisher, Bruce Davison, Connie Stevens, Diane Ladd, Valerie Harper, Joe Dante, Lukas Haas and Mark Ruffalo

    Bruce Dern, Laura Dern and Diane Ladd Honored with Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 1, 2010

  • Valerie Harper

    2010 Tony Awards Meet the Nominees Press Reception

  • Valerie Harper

    Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2010 - Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection - Runway

  • Valerie Harper

    "Mary Pickford, The Muse of the Movies" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

  • more

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