Hollywood lost another icon today. Rhoda actress Valerie Harper is dead at age 80 following her long battle with cancer.
Cristina Cacciotti, Harper’s daughter, broke the news on Twitter by sharing a statement from her father, Tony Cacciotti.
“My dad has asked me to pass on this message: “My beautiful, caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06 am, after years of fighting cancer. She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, mia Valeria. -Anthony,” read the note.
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
Harper was best known as wisecracking straight-shooter Rhoda Morgenstern, who was the best friend of Mary Tyler Moore’s on the hit sitcom. The actress, as well as the character, were so popular Harper and Rhoda got their own spin-off. She won four Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe for her portrayal of Rhoda.
Once Rhoda was finished, Harper went on to star in several sitcoms, including Valerie. She also gave her talent to several TV movies over the past couple of decades. Even after Harper got sick, her career continued to thrive. Harper even stepped back into the role of Rhode reuniting with Mary Tyler Moore again in the TV movie, Mary and Rhoda.
The beloved actress has been battling cancer since 2009 when she had a tumor removed from her right lung. In 2013, Harper was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis. She was given months to live. Less than a year later, she was considered to be in remission, but it would not be the end of her cancer battle.
Valerie Harper R.I.P.
— poetWOAgun (@poetWOAgun) August 31, 2019
Tony was Harper’s beloved husband. They spent nearly 40-years together. He shared a few weeks ago that despite doctors suggestions, Tony had no intentions of letting his wife live out her last few days in hospice. It was a tough decision, but Tony knew he could not leave the great love of his life.
News of Harper’s death has caused an outpour of tributes to the lovely actress. Social media has been flooded with grief, condolences, and words honoring the strong woman. Alyssa Milano, Ed Asner, Marlee Matlin, Cyndi Lauper and more have all expressed their thoughts on losing the great actress.
The great Valerie Harper died today at age 80 after years of battling cancer. Her legacy will never be forgotten by those who knew her personally and those who admired her extradentary acting talents.