Finest recognized for her function as Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Present” and its spinoff “Rhoda” within the 1970s, Harper was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a uncommon and incurable type of mind most cancers, in January 2013.
“‘Incurable’ is such a concise phrase. I used to be terrified,” she mentioned.
“Most cancers makes actual what we attempt to obscure from ourselves,” Harper added. “We spend our lifetimes pondering, ‘I’m by no means going to die.’ However most cancers says, ‘Hey, not so quick.’”
On the time, docs gave her simply three months to live, however Harper defied the percentages. She continued to behave in visitor spots on tv and competed on “Dancing With the Stars.” She even starred in the live musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” till she had to be hospitalized earlier than a July 2015 efficiency.
In November 2015, Harper made her first public appearance after that hospitalization on the Glioblastoma Multiforme Heroes Awards, the place she informed Leisure Tonight, “Hear, I used to be alleged to be useless in three months, perhaps six, due to the type of most cancers I had. It’s a toughie.”
The actor’s husband, Tony Cacciotti, mentioned he had declined docs’ suggestions to position Harper in hospice care, in a July 23 Fb put up.
“We are going to proceed going ahead so long as the powers above permit us, I’ll do my easiest in making Val as snug as attainable,” Cacciotti wrote. “For these of you who’ve been on this place, you’ll completely perceive that ‘it’s laborious letting go.’ So so long as I’m ready and succesful, I’ll be the place I belong proper beside her.”
Born in Suffern, New York, on Aug. 22, 1939, Harper acquired her begin in present enterprise dancing within the refrain on Broadway. After nabbing a number of small elements within the late ’50s and ’60s, Harper landed the long-lasting function of Mary Tyler Moore’s humorous, earthy finest buddy in 1970. She left the unique sequence in 1974, however continued to play Rhoda ― a job that earned her 4 Emmys and one Golden Globe award ― on the spinoff series until 1978.
After that sequence wrapped, Harper went on to behave in a number of made-for-TV motion pictures earlier than starring in two season-long sitcoms, “Valerie” and “Metropolis,” in 1986 and 1990, respectively. Over time, she made notable guest appearances on “Melrose Place,” “Intercourse and the Metropolis” and “That ’70s Present.” In 2000, she and Moore reunited for the TV film “Mary and Rhoda.”
Harper additionally continued to seem on stage, incomes a Tony Award nomination for enjoying Tallulah Bankhead in “Looped” in 2010.
Her final on-screen function was within the quick movie “My Mother and the Woman,” which was launched in October 2016.
Harper is survived by Cacciotti and their daughter, Cristina.
Antonia Blumberg contributed to this report.
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