Pop Culture

Valerie Harper, TV's Rhoda, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer

Actress Valerie Harper, best known to TV viewers for her memorable '70s role of Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and later "Rhoda," has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

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    Image: Valerie Harper Book Signing For "I, Rhoda"

    Valerie Harper

    The Emmy Award-winning star of "Rhoda" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" boasts an acting career that dates back to the 1950s.

  • Image: Valerie Harper Book Signing For "I, Rhoda"

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    Actress and author -

    Valerie Harper, seen here signing her book "I, Rhoda" in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2013, announced in March that she has terminal brain cancer. "I've had a good run," Harper, 73, told People magazine. "What more could I ask for?"

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  • Image: Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper

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    Pinching a pal -

    Harper mugs with Cloris Leachman in 2011. The two actresses co-starred together on the 1970s hit "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," with Harper playing Mary Richards' best friend Rhoda Morgenstern, and Leachman playing landlady Phyllis Lindstrom.

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  • Image: Actors gather to honor actress Betty White

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    Mary's gang -

    Harper and more members of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" cast reunited in 2008 when co-star Betty White, who played Happy Homemaker Sue Ann Nivens, was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. From left, the cast members are Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, White, Harper, and Ed Asner.

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  • Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Georgia Engel, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Gavin MacLeod and GEORGIA ENGEL

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    From one great ensemble to another -

    "Mary Tyler Moore" cast members MacLeod, Leachman, Moore, Harper, Georgia Engel and Asner present the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series at the 2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. The award that year went to the cast of "The Sopranos."

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    Family affair -

    Harper starred on her own 1980s family-themed sitcom, which changed titles from "Valerie" to "Valerie's Family" to "The Hogan Family." Josh Taylor played her husband, a pilot, with Danny Ponce, Jeremy Licht and Jason Bateman as her sons.

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  • Image: (FILE) American TV Actress Valerie Harper Diagnosed Terminal Brain Cancer Valerie Harper And Red Buttons

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    Comedy crossing generations -

    In 1982, Harper posed with legendary comedian Red Buttons in Los Angeles.

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  • Image: (FILE) American TV Actress Valerie Harper Diagnosed Terminal Brain Cancer Valerie Harper

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    Colorful and classy -

    Harper was long known for her colorful use of head scarves, as seen here in this image from her "Mary Tyler Moore" spinoff, "Rhoda," in 1975.

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  • Image: (FILE) American TV Actress Valerie Harper Diagnosed Terminal Brain Cancer Harper Filming Rhoda

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    Name in lights -

    Harper, shown here in 1975 at the set of "Rhoda," began with the character of Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in 1970. Her character, Mary's best friend, became so popular that from 1974-1978, she starred in the "Rhoda" spinoff, which took the character away from Mary in Minneapolis and back to her hometown of New York. Although Morgenstern was famously Jewish, Harper herself is Catholic.

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  • Image: (FILE) American TV Actress Valerie Harper Diagnosed Terminal Brain Cancer Rhoda

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    Friends forever -

    Harper and Moore share a laugh in 1975. After Harper left for "Rhoda," she still made appearances on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." In 2000, the actresses revisited their characters for the TV movie "Mary and Rhoda." In the film, both women are single with college-age daughters and living in New York. Fans were critical of the movie because it barely referenced the universe of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

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  • Image: (FILE) American TV Actress Valerie Harper Diagnosed Terminal Brain Cancer Rhoda

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    All together now -

    The "Rhoda" cast featured Harold J. Gould and Nancy Walker as Rhoda's parents, Julie Kavner as sister Brenda, Harper, and David Groh as Rhoda's husband Joe.

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  • Harper Asner

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    Emmy winners -

    Harper and "Mary Tyler Moore" co-star Ed Asner won Emmys for best supporting actress and actor in 1971. Harper would also win the supporting actress Emmy in 1972 and 1973, and then the Emmy for lead actress in 1975 once she'd moved on to "Rhoda."

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People magazine revealed the news Wednesday morning.

"I don't think of dying," the 73-year-old told the magazine. "I think of being here now."

According to the publication, Harper underwent tests that revealed she has a condition known as leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, and has been told by doctors that she could have as little as three months to live.

"I've had a good run," she told People. "What more could I ask for?"

In Harper's recent memoir, "I, Rhoda," she revealed an earlier battle with lung cancer in 2009. She learned of her current condition on Jan. 15 of this year.

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