Valerie Harper star of Rhoda and Mary Tyler Moore Show dies at 80 | News Coverage from USA

Valerie Harper star of Rhoda and Mary Tyler Moore Show dies at 80

Valerie Harper, who thought she would die from cancer years ago but survived to ply her madcap comic style for a new generation of audiences, has died. She was 80.

Her husband, producer/actor Tony Cacciotti, confirmed her death Friday to ABC and The New York Times. 

She died just eight days after her birthday.

Harper, best known for roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda,” had overcome multiple medical crises over the years, including surviving after being told she was terminal, but the bills were mounting. 

In July, a family friend created a GoFundMe campaign, shared to Harper’s official Facebook page, for Cacciotti.

The last 10 years have been up and down health-wise for Harper. In 2009, she survived lung cancer. Four years later, in 2013, she announced she had been diagnosed with a rare – and terminal – kind of brain cancer, with only months to live. 

In multiple media interviews, she explained she had leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. 

But Harper survived. In 2014, she told the media that her cancer was in a kind of remission. 

In 2015, she was rushed to a hospital after feeling unwell before an evening performance of “Nice Work If You Can Get It” at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Me., and was reported to be in a coma and failing. 

She wrote on Facebook that she is “happy to report I am not, nor have I been, in a coma.” 

In September 2016, People interviewed her again, reporting that the cancer of the brain membrane was back and her condition was terminal.

As of Jan. 24, 2017, Harper was tweeting again, promoting her latest role in an indie film, “My Mom and The Girl.”

In Maine, Harper had been performing in the production as Millicent Winter, along with Sally Struthers as Duchess Estonia Dulworth, at the kind of regional theater where she got her start a half-century before. She was still working after all these years.

The Ogunquit Playhouse said in a statement that Harper, who had been taken to the hospital as a “precaution,” was released to an “undisclosed location” and was resting comfortably. Harper later said on her Facebook page that she was not and never had been in a coma, contradicting online reports. 

“As always, thank you for your amazing support.… As anyone who has taken strong medication knows, it doesn’t always agree with you, even with me as this experience proves. I am confronting these hurdles with my usual enthusiasm and love of life,” she wrote. 

The Ogunquit Playhouse said it had been “pleasantly overwhelmed by the outpouring of concern and affection for Valerie Harper and has been forwarding hundreds of well wishes to her from audience members and fans.”

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