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Stage and Screen Star, Valerie Harper, Passes Away At Age 80

Stage and Screen Star, Valerie Harper, Passes Away At Age 80

It was confirmed this evening that stage and screen star, Valerie Harper, passed away today following a decade-long battle with cancer. She was 80 years old.

Harper was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, bravely battling the disease, in addition to leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition in which cancer cells spread to the membranes surrounding the brain.

In 2013, Harper was given three months to live as a result of the latter diagnosis, but continued her fight through chemotherapy treatments, even appearing on a season of Dancing With The Stars.

Earlier this summer, her family started a GoFundMe to continue her cancer treatments.

Harper is best known to audiences for her role as the beloved Rhoda Morgenstern on the classic TV sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its subsequent spin-off, "Rhoda." The popularity of the show was enormous, and the episode of Rhoda's wedding set ratings records with 52 million viewers.

For playing Rhoda, Harper won a total of four Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Her extensive television career includes the self titled sitcom, "Valerie," and more recently guest roles on such hit shows as "Desperate Housewives," "Sex and the City," "That '70s Show," "Touched by an Angel" and "Hot in Cleveland." Notable film credits include "Blame It on Rio," "Freebie and the Bean," "Chapter Two" and "The Last Married Couple in America."

Harper began her career as a chorus girl on the Broadway stage before making the transition to television. In 2010 Harper was seen on Broadway in "Looped" and received a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead. In January 2013, Harper published her memoir, I Rhoda.

Read our 2017 interview with Valerie Harper here.

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