Jump to content

The Valerie Harper Appreciation Thread

Recommended Posts

Valerie Harper's new memoir, "I, Rhoda" comes out next month and she's going on a media and signing blitz:


From Playbill:


"I, Rhoda," Memoir from Valerie Harper, Due in January; Promotional Dates Announced

By Andrew Gans


Stage and screen star Valerie Harper's memoir, which is entitled "I, Rhoda," will be released Jan. 15, 2013, by Gallery Books.

The hardcover tome traces Harper's career from Broadway chorus dancer to her breakout role as Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." That situation comedy, according to Harper, "reflected the way more and more real women were living in the 1970’s. It was refreshing and invigorating and addressed the changing attitude towards women in the workplace that had been rippling across the country."

Harper spent nine years as Rhoda Morgenstern; although the first season of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was not a ratings success, Harper took home the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress. After that first season, the show was solidly in the top 10 for years, and Harper took home two more Best Supporting Actress awards. From that success came the spin-off show, "Rhoda," and a Best Actress Emmy.

In her memoir Harper, according to press notes, "candidly writes about the pressures of starring in her own sitcom — including how Rhoda’s on-screen divorce rocked the television landscape and how in her subsequent series, 'Valerie,' she was wrongfully fired from her own show."



"I, Rhoda" also explores "the time after the show’s cancellation. Valerie was involved in the feminist movement and worked on the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (where her volunteer tutor was none-other than Gloria Allred). She also worked on The Hunger Project, an organization that had her visiting Kenya, Uganda, and Somalia."

The book also discusses Harper's recent Broadway outing, portraying Tallulah Bankhead in Looped. During preparation for the show’s New York premiere, the actress was diagnosed with lung cancer, a revelation that she discusses for the first time in her memoir.

Harper will promote her book with several appearances around the country and on TV; those dates follow.


New York, NY – January 14



New York, NY – January 15


New York, NY – January 16


“Live from the Couch”


“Morning Jolt with Larry Joe/Freewheelin’”


Talk/Q&A/Booksigning (7:00 PM – 9:00 PM)

211 East Ridgewood Avenue

Ridgewood, NJ

New York, NY – January 17


Talk/Q&A/Booksigning (7:00 PM – 9:00 PM)

150 East 86th Street

New York, NY

New Haven, CT – January 28


Talk/Q&A/Booksigning (7:00 PM – 9:00 PM)

768 Boston Post Road

Madison, CT

Chicago, IL – February 11


Booksigning (7:00 PM – 9:00 PM)

5112 Main Street

Downer’s Grove, IL

Los Angeles, CA – February 13


Talk/Booksigning (7:00 PM – 9:00 PM)

189 The Grove Drive

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, CA – February 16


Talk/Booksigning (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM)

695 E. Colorado Blvd.

Pasadena, CA

Miami, FL – February 28


Talk/Booksigning(7:00 PM – 9:00 PM)

265 Aragon Avenue

Coral Gables, FL



ARTICLE: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/173465-I-Rhoda-Memoir-from-Valerie-Harper-Due-in-January-Promotional-Dates-Announced

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seeing as she was a back up dancer in WILDCAT and got an Emmy presented by Lucy one time, i hope there are some Lucy stories in her memoir. Not to mention that she was one of the people doing the tribute to Lucy at the Kennedy Center Honors.


I hope so. On her old website, she always seemed eager and pleased to talk about working with Lucy (the dressing room) and Viv.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When the book was first announced about a year ago, it was supposed to be titled "I Rhoda Book." Maybe they thought people didn't get the "Rhoda"/"Wrote a" joke.


Valerie enthusiastically talks about Lucy all the time. I don't know if we'll necessarily get new Lucy stories in the book, but Lucy will certainly be discussed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

:( I hope Val is all right. Here's a great article about the book, in which Valerie discusses the cancer diagnosis and speaks of Lucy in glowing terms.


Valerie Harper's best-known roles have included wisecracking, weight-conscious Rhoda Gerard (nee Morgenstern), frazzled suburban mom Valerie Hogan and throaty, over-the-top Broadway legend Tallulah Bankhead. But at the end of her new memoir, "I, Rhoda" (Gallery Books, $26, in stores today), Harper shares another alter-ego she's never talked about before.


In March 2009, as "Valerie McConnell" — the surname belonged to her mother, Canadian-born Iva Mildred McConnell — Harper checked into the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after an X-ray and subsequent PET scan detected a cancerous tumor on her lung.


Lung cancer?


The news stunned the actress, her husband Tony Cacciotti and the handful of loved ones with whom they shared her diagnosis.


Days later, Harper, who described herself in an interview last week as "a lifelong non-smoker," underwent a minimally invasive procedure called VATS — video-assisted thorascopic surgery — that involved the removal of the top right lobe of the lung. Within weeks, she went back to work rehearsing "Looped," the play about Bankhead that toured the country before taking Harper to Broadway and a Tony nomination.


She said that in sharing her cancer story now — something she wasn't prepared to do four years ago — she is also beating the drum for early detection, noting that lung cancer is killing "more women ... than breast, ovarian and colon cancer combined." (And, like Harper, about 20 percent of those women have never smoked at all.)


"Let's face it, I was very lucky," said Harper, who, at 73, looks so fit it may be hard to believe that she began her theater career in the mid-1950s, appearing in such fondly remembered shows as "Li'l Abner," Jackie Gleason's "Take Me Along," the Comden and Green musical "Subways Are for Sleeping" and the 1960 musical "Wildcat," which starred her sitcom idol, Lucille Ball.


"I still can't believe it," Harper said of her early Broadway career, and of her months working with the legendary "Lucy," whom she described as "stunning, wonderful and warm."


At the time, Harper could never have imagined that, 15 years later, she and her good friend and co-star Mary Tyler Moore would be proclaimed television's "new queens of comedy." Or that Moore's production company, MTM Enterprises, would become as successful as Ball's Desilu Productions had been, on the strength of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," its many spinoffs and more than two dozen other comedies and dramas, including "The Bob Newhart Show," "Hill Street Blues" and "St. Elsewhere."


As for Harper: As Rhoda Morgenstern, the brash upstairs neighbor of Moore's reserved and often painfully sincere Mary Richards, the actress struck career gold, emerging as one of the most beloved sitcom characters ever.


Harper received eight Emmy nominations for playing Rhoda and won four times, three in the supporting actress category and once as outstanding lead actress in a comedy series in 1975, after the character was spun off into her own series.


Even today, Harper says, "people respond to me as Rhoda, they see me as their friend. And that's great. I think the character just clicked with people because there was something real about her. She was Mary's pal and she always told the truth. Mary had this politeness and squareness about her. But Rhoda was Rhoda. She was a kick in the butt."




Instant chemistry with Moore




As Harper details it in her book, she was called in to audition for the role after a casting agent saw her in a theater showcase playing two characters, including a comic Eva Braun.


"The next day," Harper said, "the casting office contacted the director of our show and asked, 'Who's that girl playing Hitler's girlfriend?' "


Harper had an instant chemistry with Moore, impressing the show's producers and, ultimately, fans of the classic series who tuned into "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" every week for the interplay between its sparkling leads and the seemingly endless stream of hilarious Rhoda-isms about life, love and, especially, food.


"I don't know why I should even bother to eat this," Harper-as-Rhoda once said of a piece of candy. "I should just apply it directly to my hips."


According to Harper, that observation, which became a mantra for dieters in the '70s, came not from the show's writers, but from actress Mary Frann, who said it to Harper one night when the two actresses were having dinner.


As viewers eventually learned, Rhoda hailed from the Bronx. But Harper, who was born in Suffern, N.Y., spent her early years in South Orange, Jersey City and Glen Rock — where her sister still lives and where, Harper insists, "the Bergen Record was on the table every day."


Her mother Iva was a nurse. And her father Howard was a hockey player turned lighting salesman. "One of the several companies he worked for," Harper said, "did the lighting for the Holland Tunnel — a fact we were reminded of every time we drove into the city from New Jersey."


Such gems from her childhood, her early stage career and her success on television are all recalled in the book, along with buoyant recollections of co-stars Moore, Betty White, Julie Kavner and dozens of others.


Harper also discusses the ups and downs of the "Rhoda" series, the controversial decision for Rhoda and Joe's small-screen breakup, and the legal mess over "Valerie," her 1980s series that became "The Hogan Family" after Harper's departure.


The actress closes the book with amusing truisms said by friends and family members, including one from her late mother: "It's not what happens to you in life, it's how you handle it."


It's as good a way as any to put the book's first 300 pages — and Harper's extraordinary life — into perspective.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...