Valerie Harper, Popular Television Actress, Is Gone at Age 80

She began her entertainment career as a dancer at Radio City Music Hall — and made her mark on the iconic and much-loved sitcom 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'

It’s hard to believe, but the entertainment world has lost yet another popular star.

Valerie Harper, best known as TV’s spunky Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” passed away after a long bout with cancer, her family confirmed on Friday.

She was 80 years old; she was born in 1939.

Harper was a native of Suffern, New York, as Fox News and other outlets noted in pieces on Friday night.

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She began her career as a dancer at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, then moved into the worlds of theater and improv comedy.

She ultimately rose to stardom as the character of Rhoda, the wise-cracking neighbor and friend, on the iconic TV sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” earning a Golden Globe and four Emmys for that role. (She’s shown above left, along with Mary Tyler Moore.)

Her spinoff show, “Rhoda,” aired from 1974 to 1978.

She then starred in her own sitcom, “Valerie,” from 1986 to 1987.

For more than 30 years Harper appeared regularly on television as well as in films.

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She is survived by her husband and her daughter.

“One of our all-time favorites has passed,” said Phil Rosenthal, executive producer of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” in a tweet. “Wonderful, funny, lovely, supportive and a huge influence on and off stage, we love you, Valerie.”

Many others in the entertainment world have been pouring out their sympathy and messages all evening long — here are a few more. Share your thoughts as well.

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