Valerie Harper: An Interview from Rhoda to Golda

Valerie Harper won four Emmy awards as television's Rhoda, three of which were for best supporting actress in a comedy when Rhoda was Mary Richard's best friend on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The other Emmy was for Best Lead Actress in a comedy, when Ms. Harper starred in the spin off, RHODA. Currently, Valerie Harper is touring America, starring as Golda Meir in William Gibson's GOLDA'S BALCONY. Of course, a great body of work exists between RHODA and GOLDA'S BALCONY. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, producer Tony Cacciotti, and their daughter Cristina, who is an actress.

Having been in love with Ms. Harper since my early teens, I shared this information with Mr. Cacciotti who very sweetly responded "How Dare You!" I was thrilled to interview Valerie Harper as she relaxed in her hotel suite in Columbus, Ohio, where she is currently wowing them in Mr. Gibson's masterpiece, by bringing Golda to life.

When our interview began Valerie Harper had been in the midst of listening to a recording of Golda Meir. Valerie was lovelier, warmer and more charming and funny than I can relate in mere words. She made me feel close to her during our interview. She has an electric quality, and she emanates love. This is a truly darling woman. It came across in every word she said and every breath she took. She told me she felt like she and I were old friends having a wonderful chat. It was a gift for me to have the opportunity to speak with her. I will never forget how gracious, and warm this dynamite lady was with me. I did not want our two hour interview to end. I will share with you, dear reader, that I, did not get to about 75 percent of the questions I had prepared. No matter. The time I spent interviewing Valerie Harper is time I will always cherish and I am privileged to have the opportunity to share some of the experience with you. We had our interview at noon on January 20, 2006 while Ms. Harper was in Columbus, Ohio with GOLDA'S BALCONY.

Beau Higgins: What was the first play you ever saw?

Valerie Harper:The first Broadway play I ever saw was THE BAD SEED by Maxwell Anderson and with Patty McCormack. THE BAD SEED was from an extraordinary novel by William March. Then I saw the musical LI'L ABNER, never dreaming that a couple of years later I would be performing the show. At the time, I thought I was destined for a life in the ballet. I had seen lots of community and local theater and had been in plays at school. I really developed an early love for ballet. Like most dancers, I am still "first" a dancer. I'm very proud of it. Once you are a dancer the physicality never leaves you, nor does the strength. Hopefully, it keeps you like an athlete.

Beau Higgins: Who took you to see THE BAD SEED?

Valerie Harper: My mother and father. I must say, actually it was really more the movies that got me into this business, that made me fall in love with it. Daddy was a salesman and away a lot, always working. My mom took me to the movies on Thursday nights, because it was dish night. When they gave you a free dish along with your movie ticket. The movie that really "did it for me" was ALL ABOUT EVE. The backstage feeling, the authenticity, the passion those people had for their lives in the theater. I must say, the movie ALL ABOUT EVE, what a great movie! ALL ABOUT EVE had a profound effect on my life. I went to see the Ice Show with my friend Beverly at the Roxy. During that show, I knew I was going to be in the business, performing someway, somehow. I think it may have been the lights changing on the ice and the glamour of the performers out there--I remember a defining moment, during that Ice Show performance, that I was going to be a performer. I had always been doing shows in school and veered into ballet. At that Ice Show at the Roxy, my destiny was sealed.

Beau Higgins: What were the early days in your career like for you?

Valerie Harper: I became a replacement in the cast of LI'L ABNER on Broadway. Michael Kidd was the choreographer. I replaced Julie Marlowe. Back in those days, it may have been simply because I fit into her dress. In LI'L ABNER, I did hear laughs and thought, "oh, this is wonderful." I looked at the great Stubby Kaye and the wonderful production and the audience and realized there was something very special, that right now, at this time, we were all sharing a very special time and having fun in this "room" together. It was so very exciting.

I was later in the movie too. You can see me there singing "Put Em Back The Way They Were." I also did a year in Take Me Along at the Shubert. A beautiful theater. I got called to audition for Take Me Along. Was it from Onna White, yes it was Onna White. She was great. She choreographed Take Me Along. Destry Rides Again was also a Michael Kidd show, as was LI'L ABNER. You know you became like a "Michael Kidd dancer." Actually, we were trendsetters with LI'L ABNER. We took it from Broadway to Las Vegas. I believe it was the Riviera. We did a one hour version of LI'L ABNER. Which means that they basically cut out everything but the most physically demanding production numbers, for the Vegas audience. But, I was only 18 years old. At 18 years old who gets exhausted? We did two, sometimes three shows a day. Yes, we were the first Broadway show to customize for and play Las Vegas, LI'L ABNER. Then, I was cast in Michael Kidd's DESTINY RIDES AGAIN. But, I got sick with something hepatitis like. I really was quite sick and couldn't do the show.

Beau Higgins: You didn't have the struggling, low paying times of most young actors in New York?

Valerie Harper: I was lucky in that I only worked Broadway and toured with "Industrial Shows." That is where the big bucks were. I was 18 when I did LI'L ABNER. I shared a studio apartment on 55th street, between 8th and 9th avenues and the rent was $120.00 a month.

Beau Higgins: Speaking of LI'L ABNER, how was it working with Stubby Kaye?

Valerie Harper: The whole world of LI'L ABNER was wonderful. All that community. I loved Stubby Kaye and that voice! A gorgeous singer and such a sweet man. Adorable. Soooo adorable, and solid. A solid performer without sweating. Stubby Kaye called me his Holland Tunnel Honey.

Beau Higgins: What about the transition from being a dancer to being a dancer who is an actress?

Valerie Harper: I found that for me to get acting roles, I had to hide my dancing credits. The people hiring would just assume that you were "only" a dancer if you had it on your resume. So I learned that to get the acting parts, I actually hid the fact that I was also a dancer. After a dozen or so years in the business of course, I got to audition to be Rhoda. I remember at the audition I did my friend Penny's accent. A full out Bronx accent. That's the accent and voice I used when I auditioned to play Rhoda.

Beau Higgins: What are some recent shows you have seen?

Valerie Harper: The Paris Letter with my dear friend Ron Rifkin, who is simply the best. He was brilliant in Cabaret. You know that Ron Rifkin and Zvi (Dr. Zvi Almog an Israeli who actually worked with Golda,) and their wives, well they were the ones who truly helped guide my performance as Golda, simply because of things they had lived through. I saw, A Naked Girl on the Apian Way. Spamalot, fabulous! That show has the song "You Must Have the Jews." Hysterical Monty Python. It is a very silly show, very brilliantly acted by everybody and sang wonderfully too. Jersey Boys was also fabulous! I wasn't a big fan of Frankie Valli back in the day. But when you hear "Sherry, Sherry Baby," and all those great songs. It is beautifully directed and you would love the stagecraft.

Beau Higgins: Did you see the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF revival?

Valerie Harper: I loved it. I loved Harvey and Rosie and the young man playing Motel was just so delightful! Rosie was terrific! She was great, she was solid and there was depth to her performance and she worked wonderfully with Harvey.

I made a point of seeing Fiddler because, it is Fiddler and such a classic when it is playing on Broadway, you go. Also, for me I was also using it as research for GOLDA'S BALCONY. To see how they portrayed shtetl life, the world of the Jews in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. The production was stunning, but frankly I am not sure if that "well served" the play. I wish there had been more grittiness to the design of the show. I wish the design had shown more poverty. It was indeed beautiful.

Beau Higgins: What about Harvey Fierstein as Tevye?

Valerie Harper: I have seen some of the greatest Tevyes. Zero Mostel, Herschel Bernardi, Theodore Bikel, Topol. Harvey made it his own. He made the part work for him. He brought his own "Harveyisms" to the part. He found the great zaniness within the part and a uniqueness I thought we'd never see again, being that Zero Mostel is no longer with us. But Harvey brought his own unique zaniness to Tevye. He was great, he was joyous and he also made me cry. He sang full out, performed the songs wonderfully, worked great with Rosie and the wonderful actress who was playing Tzeitel.

Beau Higgins: Who is the favorite director with whom you have worked?

Valerie Harper: (During this response, Ms. Harper called out to her husband Tony, to help remind her of some director names. She certainly knew most off the top of her head.) Wow... Too many great ones. When you get to be an actress of my age, you get to have worked with a lot of great talents. I can't pick a favorite. I respectfully decline to name a favorite director. I've had so many wonderful directors. Jay Sandrich and Jim Brooks, from the MTM and Rhoda days. Paul Newman who directed me in THE SHADOW BOX. Can you imagine being an actress and getting to look into the intensely beautiful eyes of Paul Newman directing you? So many great directors I've worked with. Woody Allen. Woody was great to work with. Elaine May, Nancy Walker was a great director, she directed many RHODA episodes. Stanley Donen. Wow! Scott Schwartz who directed GOLDA's BALCONY. Lynne Meadow of the Manhattan Theater Club is a fabulous director. Lynne Meadow. She rebuilt the Biltmore theater. It had been laying dormant for years. That was where HAIR played on Broadway.

Beau Higgins: Given your choice, whom else would you like to see star in Golda's Balcony?

Valerie Harper: This is a very tough question. Wow. Maureen Stapleton? She is just so fabulous. Of course our dear departed Anne Bancroft who did indeed play Golda. Anna Magnani would have been great. I saw Ingrid Bergman in the film. Bergman brought a great weight, power and intensity to the part. However, I don't think she tried to recreate the sound of the voice or the way the real Golda Meir spoke. She was wonderful, but I guess they figured for American television, she sounded foreign enough. Most Americans didn't know what Golda sounded like. Hmmmm, others. I love Arlene Golonka. A great talent and person. She is great.

Beau Higgins: Let me narrow it down. Anyone from your MTM or Rhoda days you would like to see in the part?

Valerie Harper: Hmmm. I don't think Mary's really right for the part. Do you? I think you need to have some of the Jewishness inside and I grew up with my best girlfriends all being Jewish. I am not Jewish, but hopefully I conjure a Jewish heart and I have become amazingly passionate about Israel and its history and survival. Cloris Leachman maybe? She is always great, Cloris. Beverly, Beverly Sanders who played Susie on Rhoda. She is a great actress, just did a one woman play. Rhoda was so important to my life. Rhoda was important for me with this part, don't you think? I think my having played Rhoda, helps the audience accept me as Golda Meir.

Beau Higgins: A non-Jewish friend of mine originated the part of the lead Russian Dancer in FIDDLER, did the film and the show for 30 years. He used to sing to me "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Race." You have so very famously played Jewish characters. Is there anything you have learned about being Jewish from RHODA or GOLDA'S BALCONY that has effected your life in any way?

Valerie Harper: You can tell by this conversation, that it is a very important part of my life. The Jewish girlfriends I grew up with, some of whom are still my very closest friends. I must say, I was very lucky to grow up in a household without prejudice. My mother was a teacher and a nurse. She would allow nothing prejudicial in her home. It simply was not tolerated and was looked upon with disdain by both my mother and father. Beau, I want all your readers to buy or rent the DVD of the PBS show CIVILIZATION AND THE JEWS, hosted by Abba Eban. There is another wonderful show, Israel, A Nation is Born, also hosted by Abba Eban, my dear Zvi produced it. I have been to Israel, I have been to Yad Vashem. In my teen years Martin Luther King was very important to me. So was Rosa Parks. I was very actively involved in the civil rights movement. Jewish people also have been close to me in my life since childhood. Of course, in show business, you have the chance to work with lots of wonderful Jewish people. Hopefully some of the greatness that has allowed Jews to survive strife, destruction, annihilation and tragedy since the beginning of time pretty much, hopefully some of that Jewishness has rubbed off on me.

Beau Higgins: Are there future plans for GOLDA'S BALCONY?

Valerie Harper: Tony and I are working out the details now, but we plan to bring GOLDA'S BALCONY to London and to Israel. Golda Meir remains a figure of great controversy there. It will be fascinating to see what happens there, at this time in history, with all that is going on.

Beau Higgins: When did you first see GOLDA'S BALCONY?

Valerie Harper: First, let me mention that I turned down a T.V. pilot to do GOLDA'S BALCONY. This play about Golda Meir is THAT important. I saw it with my friend Charlotte Brown, who wrote the final seasons of RHODA. We saw Tovah Feldshuh do it at the Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles. Tovah did not want to do a national tour. She had done the play for years and she needed to spend time at home with her kids, tending to their schooling and college needs and home life things like that. Tovah was magnificent and brought a great deal of energy to the part. She was greatly adept at everything she did. Tovah brought a poetic dent to her performance.

Beau Higgins: Did Tovah's performance influence yours?

Valerie Harper: Not really, I don't think so. When we started rehearsals, Scott the director said, "we are starting from ground zero." I told him that he or we didn't need to "reinvent the wheel." That if something worked with Tovah, let's go with that, if he wanted. He very clearly wanted me to "make it my own." So we started at the beginning. I think my Golda sounds very different than Tovah's. I studied a lot of cds and videos with Golda Meir. I wanted to get as close to Golda's Midwestern accented voice as possible. I love doing the research. Some actresses just go with it, but I love doing the research. I love that Golda Meir was so committed to peace.

You know they don't refer to it as armed forces in Israel. It is called the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces. Just an incredible woman. Just an amazing nation. Did you hear Hillary Clinton the other night? She is brilliant. She understands about Israel, she knows Israel is at a crossroads. Sharon's work has been brilliant. This lady Golda, needs to be known! The message needs to be known. Let's move forward! Palestinians must be educated and can help to form new governments where the Palestinians and the Israelis can coexist peacefully. The Jewish people have gotta have their home.

Isn't it ironic how Hitler was instrumental in creating Israel? Hitler is rolling in his grave! Luckily for me, I had Cookie, Myra, Arlene, Eileen. Wonderful Jewish friends I had as a young girl. Still some of my closest friends today. Zionism. Fascinating. How to retrieve a homeland. All the layers of history are in Israel. All the civilizations. You can see the mosaics from the synagogues. Layer upon layer of history. All in the incredible land of Israel. The Jewish leaders knew and they knew how to found and keep their homeland. I told you I love the research and the history! This incredible American bred woman, Golda, goes to Palestine in her 20s. She has this passion, drive and strength to see a Jewish homeland. She knew Jews had to do it by themselves. It was Ben Gurion's credo. "We've Got to do it Ourselves." The things this woman Golda did. This woman! You know, Pearl S. Buck (Ms. Harper co wrote and starred in All Under Heaven, a one woman show about the author, Pearl S. Buck) exposed prejudice in an interesting manner. She was Pearl S. Buck, so famous, so rich, a woman! The critics started bashing her, even Robert Frost said something nasty about Pearl S. Buck being an award winner. So she wrote, I think it was five books, don't quote me I am not sure on this, but I think she wrote about America under the name John Hedges, I think it was. The works using her pen name were all loved by the critics. Pearl S. Buck exposed the prejudice those literary critics had against Pearl S. Buck, that's for sure.

Beau Higgins: Would you share with us a FAVORITE MISHAP?

Valerie Harper: When doing TALE OF THE ALLERGIST'S WIFE at the Barrymore, I was onstage with Michelle Lee. I just love her. She is fantastic. Well, they are doing this renovating of the Biltmore which is what I think caused this. We're in this scene, me and Michelle, and she is in this very swirly type costume and I'm more or less in a bathrobe. We are doing the scene and I tell you, the biggest cockroach ever in existence started to slowly crawl up Michelle's sleeve. I had only been with the play a couple of weeks. Michelle could see in my eyes that something was "going on," and this cockroach was literally at least two and a half inches long. It still gives me the creeps thinking how huge this cockroach was! Anyway, I am watching slowly and of course staying in the scene as I know this monster cockroach is crawling up Michelle's sleeve and will soon be on her shoulder and then her face. So I quickly made the decision to slap the roach off of her and we both mumbled something quickly and we went on. Michelle and I were laughing hysterically about it later. The audience never knew anything odd took place. And I am telling you, when I slapped the roach off of Michelle, I heard him hit the scenery! This was a HUGE cockroach!

Beau Higgins: How are you enjoying "life on the road," touring in GOLDA'S BALCONY?

Valerie Harper: I am loving it. I love home in Los Angeles, but my husband Tony is with me and my daughter Cristina is at home taking care of the dogs. I am a passionate dog lover. We used to have three. Our dogs live long lives. Tony is always having them do physical things and making sure they eat right and get the exercise they need. I just love dogs.

Beau Higgins: How did you get involved with "GOLDA'S BALCONY"?

Valerie Harper: The producer, David Fishelson, who had produced "Golda" on Broadway where it ran for a long time. David called me in March 2005 to see if I would be willing to do a national tour of "GOLDA'S BALCONY." I'd seen the play and upon reading the script I knew I absolutely had to do it.

Beau Higgins: "Entrance Applause" Do you feel it effects your performance Ms. Harper?

Valerie Harper: As a stage performer, you learn to work with it when it happens. It doesn't always happen, and often it happens at different times. But, you must keep doing your work and stay in the moment and the play for the audience. Personally, I just assume the audience did not applaud and that they get with Golda immediately. Honestly, it's completely their choice if they want to acknowledge "Valerie" or not. IT really doesn't matter either way. I have to stay in character no matter what.

Beau Higgins: How difficult is it to portray Golda Meir?

Valerie Harper: I feel a tremendous responsibility to honor this magnificent human being. The respect that I have for her and her accomplishments could be daunting, but I try not to let it be so. Thankfully, there's a lot of news footage, taped speeches, and interview shows so that I can accurately reproduce her voice and manner of being. In GOLDA's BALCONY I have a fantastic makeup and wig artist and padded clothing and a perfect costume. This helps me so much to recreate Golda, because a lot of people know what she looked like.

Beau Higgins: How did you prepare to play Golda and the people Golda plays in her life? Did you study any footage of the figures in her life?? Or was it drawn from knowledge you had?

Valerie Harper: I had some wonderful help in creating the role of Golda from the husbands of two of my best "girlfriends." (The quotes are because we're no longer girls, but have known and loved each other for 40 years.) One husband is Dr. Zvi Almog an Israeli who actually worked with Golda and many of the Israeli soldiers and generals who appear in the play. Zvi very generously helped me with not only the Hebrew pronunciations, but really accurate insight into the time and different personalities during several times of war. The other husband Ron Rifkin helped me with all the Yiddish I have to speak throughout the evening. There's not that much, but I wanted it to be absolutely accurate. He also taught Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. Not being Jewish myself, I wanted to be absolutely perfect, particularly for the Jews that would be in the audience. By the way, Penny (married to Dr. Almog) danced with me in the Broadway show "Wildcat" starring Lucille Ball. In 1961. And Iva, Ron Rifkin's wife, and I were roommates when we were 18. (Both dancing in Broadway shows.) Who knew back in the 60s that all these years later my 2 gal pals would provide me with these fabulous technical advisor husbands.

Beau Higgins: Rhoda-Do you fear she will intrude on your performance as Golda? Both rather famously Jewish, do you fear or did you fear she might "creep" into your performance???

Valerie Harper: Not at all.

The play so brilliantly written by Mr. Gibson, encompasses a great deal of Golda's life, from a 4 year old until she's close to death. The brilliance of the play is that much of the action takes place during the monumental crisis in 1973 War in Israel, but flashes back to Golda's memories throughout her life.

Beau Higgins: Do you prefer stage over television/movie roles?

Valerie Harper: This is a tough question! The truth is, what makes a role exciting is a) who wrote it B) who are you acting with and c) who's directing it. A very happy combination of those 3 elements can occur in a play, on TV or on film. That being said, stage has real living human beings in the same room that you are performing. That experience is like no other. The theatre experience is happening in the moment, never again to be repeated. It is not a recording of something. It is the actual occurrence. And the audience is as much a part of the evening as the performer. That's why the stage is so exciting and rewarding.

Beau Higgins: A one-person show would seem to demand much more energy per performance than a show with multiple cast members. Do you agree and how do you keep your energy up?

Valerie Harper: Yes! You are so right! I make sure I get enough rest and eat properly.  On a 2-show day I sleep at the theater in between shows. The evening audience should have as much of my energy as the matinee audience. This show in particular is interesting in that it is played without an intermission, so when I begin the performance, I know that I'm out there for an hour and a half straight. The upside is, I'm finished in 90 minutes, and can go out to dinner!

Beau Higgins: Millions love you as Rhoda. Is it a blessing or otherwise to be so closely identified with a particular character?

Valerie Harper: In my case, it has only been a blessing. I made sure that I never did another role that was like Rhoda. I also feel that in a strange way, Rhoda has perhaps allowed the audience to accept me as Jewish and Golda, maybe more easily than if I'd not played the role. Rhoda was the wind-in-the-sails of my career. That role really launched me. I love to see her on reruns!

Beau Higgins: Kindly comment about the difference between performing before a camera vs. performing a live one-woman show?

Valerie Harper: The actor's process, in my view, is always the same. Which is to create a believable "person" as honestly as you can. In a close up for a feature, you might think the inner thought and the camera might catch it, but on the stage you have to be responsible enough to communicate across the footlights. This is a difficult question to answer briefly. I would say, the actor's job is to be as interesting and honest as possible and appropriate to the medium in which he/she is working.

Beau Higgins: While touring with a show, do you ever travel home between stops?

Valerie Harper There was a Christmas break of 3 weeks which was nice, and there was a "hurricane break" which was not so nice. Hurricane Wilma blew thru Ft. Lauderdale which was the first stop in our tour in October. And we went home for 3 weeks. In Chicago, the show was due to play in February but they found asbestos in the Schubert. So, we'll play Chicago in May or June. Theatre life, like real life, as the saying goes "Life is what happens on the way to your plans." During the breaks I do run the show myself in my living room to keep in shape and the show crisp for the next venue.

Beau Higgins: How do you feel about reviews? Do they ever effect future performances or how you feel that day?

Valerie Harper: About reviews, they're part of being in the theatre. A long time ago, a fellow actor helped me with a way to keep them in perspective. To my way of thinking, a review is "an opinion" and sometimes 2 reviewers who attended the same performance, have diametrically opposed opinions of what they saw. To lessen the pain of a bad review, I have had to give up the joy of a good review. PS - We all love good reviews! But, you try not to let good or bad creep in and undermine your performance. Great question!

Beau Higgins: Have you had any feedback from audiences on the current Israeli/Palestinian activities relative to the substance of the show? Interesting timing of the show in light of all that is occurring.

Valerie Harper: Yes. A great deal of feedback, particularly since Ariel Sharon the current Israeli Prime Minister, has fallen ill. He's mentioned several times in the play, of course as a younger man, and as one of the generals in the Israeli army, who saved Israel from destruction in 1973. Yes, I think the show is extremely pertinent in light of the current global politics we're experiencing.

Beau Higgins: Ms. Harper, I heard from David Fishelson who said my review "made Bill Gibson's week." That still has me walking on air.........How did it feel to work on a play knowing it was from the genius who gave us THE MIRACLE WORKER and TWO FOR THE SEESAW, etc.?

Valerie Harper: William Gibson is one of the great American playwrights - ever! And to have worked on his plays as a young actress back in the 60s in acting class, (such as the Miracle Worker and Two for the Seesaw) only makes this project more wonderful for me. I saw Anne Bancroft in both of the above mentioned plays on Broadway when I was an acting student. I had the privilege of spending 5 hours with Bill Gibson at his home in New England before we commenced rehearsals of GOLDA'S BALCONY. He's a beautiful person, sharp as a tack, very funny and charming. I feel privileged indeed to be working on a play by this, as you called him, genius. He was profoundly moved by your generous acknowledgment, Beau and for your support of the whole production, I'm extremely grateful.

Beau Higgins: How do you spend your free time while on the road?

Valerie Harper: If I'm in a city long enough, I try to see as much as I can locally. We live in an extraordinary country, and I'm always delighted to meet new people in different environments that make up the USA. I rest a lot - I need to rest because of the rigors and demands of this role. Thankfully I have my husband traveling with me which is great and makes traveling so much more fun. We try to visit local museums and local points of interest.

Beau Higgins: Ms. Harper, do you keep all your awards together in one spot???? Or are they spread around?

Valerie Harper: Beau - You devil! You found me out! I have a lot of plaques and awards carefully wrapped but in boxes in my closet. The 4 Emmys are in a cabinet but not on display. A dear decorator friend of mine said I should get a thick pane of glass, and with the 4 Emmys I'd have a sensational coffee table!

Beau Higgins: Do you have a favorite episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and one of RHODA ?

Valerie Harper: A most favorite episode incorporated both the Mary Tyler Moore cast and the Rhoda cast and it was an hour in length. Of course I'm speaking of "Rhoda's Wedding." I loved that episode because everyone was there, the show was about a most joyous occasion, and we worked on it longer than the "prescribed" 5 days. It was great fun! Additionally, I have many great memories from many great episodes on both shows and like a mom with her kids, I'm loathe to favor one over the other.

Beau Higgins: Ms. Harper, Do you realize that Harold Gould played the Parker Playhouse right before you did in Tuesdays with Morrie? Isn't it ironic that you followed your "former dad" when you returned to Ft. Lauderdale?

Valerie Harper: Yes - ironic indeed! I love Hal.

Beau Higgins: Ms. Harper, I simply must ask, have you yourself ever made matzo balls? (Golda Meir jokes about repeatedly making matzo balls in Golda's Balcony)

Valerie Harper:    

No, I have not.

Beau Higgins:

In "becoming" Golda Meir, are there any parts of her persona that surprised you?

Valerie Harper:

Yes. For one, the immense personal cost she was willing to bear to complete her mission for a home land for the Jewish people. Also, the lengthy passionate and profound love affairs that she had in

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From This Author Beau Higgins

Currently spending his time between New York and Florida, Beau was born to a theatrical family in Brooklyn. He studied drama at the Lee Strasberg (read more...)

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