In a post on Twitter, Harper’s daughter Cristina Cacciotti confirmed the news with a statement from her father and Valerie’s husband Anthony:
“My beautiful caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06 a.m. after years of fighting cancer. She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, mia Valeria.”
Harper is going to be best known to most TV viewers for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on both the iconic The Mary Tyler Moore Show and then also her own spin-off Rhoda. She showed off during her time on those shows an incredible sense of humor, let alone a passion for the material and for pushing herself constantly as a performer. She won over plenty of fans then, but then also many more down the road with a courageous battle against illness. The actress was told many years ago that she had leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a condition that was going to cause her to only have a few more months to live. However, she ended up surviving for years after the fact, becoming an inspirational story and even going on to appear on Dancing with the Stars at one point. She brought positivity to her battle and took advantage of every moment that she had.
Harper’s list of roles did not just stop with The Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda, as she also appeared on multiple episodes of The Love Boat alongside Melrose Place, Touched by an Angel, and That 70’s Show. As a performer, she was fine to jump between different genres and try out a wide array of different things. Even over the past few years she continued to work, with her having notable voice roles on The Simpsons in addition to appearing on American Dad.
Our thoughts go out to all of Harper’s family and loved ones through what has to be an incredibly difficult time. We think that she will be remembered undoubtedly as a gifted performer, but also someone who was unafraid to wear her heart on her sleeve and show a number of different sides to herself. (Photo: CBS.)