Sunday, December 5, 2010

Valerie Harper best known as Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda

Valerie Harper was Born 1939 in New York.  She is best known as Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler More Show" then later in her own spin-off show "Rhoda".  

Valerie Harper as "Rhoda"

Valerie started off in dancing and the 1950s she began appearing in Broadway shows such as "Li'l Abner", "Wildcat" with Lucille Ball, and "Take Me Along".

She got her on-screen debut in 1956 as an uncredited dancer in "Rock Rock Rock!".  A few years later she appeared uncredited in the on-screen version of "Li'l Abner".  After appearing in several Broadway shows, ten years later she got a film role in "With a Feminine Touch" (1969).

Valerie Harper as "Rhoda"

In 1970, she began playing the role of Rhoda Morgenstern in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-starring of course Mary Tyler Moore as well as Ed Asner, Cloris Leachman, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel, and Betty White.  Moore saw the potential in Harper and under her production company, created a spin-off show "Rhoda" in 1974 which ran 110 episodes until 1978. That show co-starred Julie Kavner, David Groh, Nancy Walker, Ron Silver, and Lorenzo Music.  Valerie still appeared in a few episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" until the show ended in 1977.

Cast of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" Front: Gavin MacLeod (Murray Slaughter), Mary Tyler Moore (Mary Richards), Cloris Leachman (Phyllis Lindstrom), Valerie Harper (Rhoda Morgenstern), Ed Asner (Lou Grant), Ted Knight (Ted Baxter)

The cast of "Rhoda" Front: David Groh (Joe Gerard), Valerie Harper (Rhoda Morgenstern Gerard), Julie Kavner (Brenda Morgenstern).  Back: Harold Gould (Martin Morgenstern), Nancy Walker (Ida Morgenstern)
Valerie Harper

During her run on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda", Harper also starred in various TV shows and movies such as "Love, American Style" (1971), "Columbo" (1972), "The Shape of Things" (1973), "Thursday's Game" (1974), "Freebie and the Bean" (1974), and "Night Terror" (1977).

Valerie Harper as "Rhoda"

In the 80s, Harper starred in many more TV shows and movies including "The Last Married Couple in America" (1980) with George Segal, Richard Benjamin, Natalie Wood, Bob Dishy, Dom DeLuise, and Pricilla Barnes, followed by "The Shadow Box" co-starring Joanne Woodward, Christopher Plummer and Melinda  Dillon (1980), "The Day the Loving Stopped" (1981) also co-starring Ally Sheedy and Dennis Weaver, "Don't Go to Sleep" (1982) which also co-starred Dennis Weaver, "Farrell for the People", "An Invasion of Privacy" (1983), "Blame It On Rio" (1984) with Michael Caine, Demi Moore, Joseph Bologna and Michelle Johnson.

In 1985 Valerie starred in the TV movie "The Execution" along with Loretta Swit, Jessica Walter, Rip Torn, Barbara Barrie, Sandy Dennis, and Martin E. Brooks.  The following year she reunited with Gavin MacLeod by appearing on the TV show "The Love Boat"
also starring Lauren Tewes, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Jill Whelan, and Ted Lange.

In 1986 she starred in the sitcom "Valerie's Family" as Valerie Hogan.  After a contract dispute with the production company, she left the show after 32 episodes.  The show was then renamed "The Hogan Family" and her spot was filled by Sandy  Duncan who played her character's sister-in-law after her character was written out of the script as dying.
Harper appeared in "Strange Voices" in 1987 along with Nancy McKeon, Stephen Macht, Tricia Leigh Fisher, and Millie Perkins.  Then in 1988 it was "Drop-out Mother" co-starring Wayne Rogers, Carol Kane, and Danny Gerard.  That same year she starred in "The People Across the Lake" with Gerald McRaney, Barry Corbin, Tammy Lauren, and Daryl Anderson.  In 1990 she appeared in "Stolen: One Husband" with Elliott Gould and Brenda Vaccaro.  That same year she starred in the series "City" which lasted for one season.

She continued into the 90s appearing in 3 episodes of "Missing Persons" (1994), "A Friend to Die For", "The Office" (6 episodes as Rita Stone in 1995), "The Great Mom Swap", "Promised Land" (1996) with Gerald McRaney, "Melrose Place"
starring Thomas Calabro, Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Jack Wagner, Josie Bissett, Doug Savant, and Laura Leighton(2 episodes, 1998); "Touched By an Angel" (2 episodes, 1996-99), and "Sex in the City" (1999).

In 1997 Valerie appeared in "Dog's Best Friend" with Richard Mulligan, Shirley Jones and Bobcat Goldthwait, Meredith Baxter, Markie Post, and former "Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-star, Ed Asner.
Partial cast of "Mary and Rhoda" in 2000.  Front: Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper.  Back: Joie Lenz (Rose) and Marisa Ryan (Meredith)

In 2000, Valerie reprised her role as Rhoda and reunited with Mary Tyler More in "Mary and Rhoda".  She then appeared in TV shows such as "Beggars and Choosers" (2000), "That '70s Show" (2001), "Family Law" (2001), "Dancing at the Harvest Moon" (2002), "Less than Perfect" (2003-2004), "Golda's Balcony" (2007), and "'Til Death" (2009).

Valerie Harper in 2007
Valerie Harper in 2008

Back on Broadway in 2001, Harper starred in "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" and again in 2010 for the show "Looped".We will see more of Valerie soon in the films "Certainty" and "Fixing Pete" (2011).

Valerie Harper in 2009

Valerie Harper in 2010

Valerie Harper today

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