Aug. 22nd, 1939
Suffern, New York, USA
Valerie Harper's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1984 - Blame It on Rio
1979 - Chapter Two
1974 - Freebie and the Bean
1959 - Li'l Abner
Guest TV Roles
Judge Leslie Singer
Making people laugh is only one facet of Valerie Harper's career, which extends from the stage to television and feature films. A native of Suffren, New York -- "I was born to suffer" -- Harper began her career as a dancer with the corps de ballet at Radio City Hall during its spectacular heyday.
She gradually moved into acting, working in everything from industrial shows to regional theatre to the Second City comedy troupe of Chicago. Eventually, she made it to Broadway in productions of "Dear Liar", the Tony Award winning "Story Theatre", "Something Different" and "Metamorphosis".
Stardom came with television, including four Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for her work in Mary Tyler Moore (1970) and Rhoda (1974), in which she played the title role. Harper has won Harvard's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, and her "Rhoda's Wedding" episode set that year's ratings record.
Since retiring Rhoda Morganstern to the eternity of re-runs, Harper has been active on stage and in movies. Her feature films include Chapter Two (1979), Freebie and the Bean (1974) and The Last Married Couple in America (1980).
In television she has starred on all three networks in movies of the week, including Farrell for the People (1982), Don't Go to Sleep (1982) and An Invasion of Privacy (1983). A strong supporter of women's rights, Harper is preparing a film with 'Tony Cacciotti', her partner in TAL Productions, on the subject of domestic violence, based on a true story.
Harper and Schaal divorced in 1978. Harper married Tony Cacciotti in 1987; the couple has a daughter by adoption.
In 2009, Harper was diagnosed with lung cancer. She announced on March 6, 2013 that tests from a January hospital stay revealed she has leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition in which cancer cells spread into the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain. She said her doctors have given her as little as three months' life expectancy. Although the disease is incurable, her doctors said they were treating her with chemotherapy in an effort to slow its progress.
She played Claire Bremmer, aunt of Susan Delfino (Teri Hatcher), on ABC's Desperate Housewives in 2011. On September 4, 2013, ABC's Good Morning America announced Harper had been selected as a contestant on the 17th season of Dancing with the Stars. She is partnered with professional dancer 'Tristan MacManus'.
- Is a graduate of the Erhard Seminars Training (AKA est).
- Measurements: 36-26 1/2-40 (while on _"Mary Tyler Moore" (1970)_ (qv)), 35 1/2-24-36 (trimmed down for her _"Rhoda" (1974)_ (qv) spin-off). (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
- Ex-roommate of 'Arlene Golonka' (qv).
- She and her then husband actor 'Richard Schaal' (qv) were also a writing team and wrote a script for the series _"Love, American Style" (1969)_ (qv) called "Love and the Visitor", back in the early 70's.
- In the fall of 1987 she was abruptly fired by Lorimar from her NBC TV series _"Valerie" (1986)_ (qv). She didn't show for filming one day. The series decided to continue on without her as "Valerie's Family" with 'Sandy Duncan' (qv) playing Sandy Hogan, replacing Harper's "Valerie Hogan" character. Harper sued Lorimar for breach of contract and in the fall of 1988 was awarded $1.4 million plus 12.5% of the profits of the show, which continued on without her until 1991.
- Ex-stepdaughter, 'Wendy Schaal' (qv), is an actress.
- Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 206-207. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
- Daughter, Cristina, born 1983 is also an actress.