Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE obituary

Valerie Harper, prolific actress for more than six decades, dead at 80

By Christian Long
Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper, a prolific actress for more than six decades, passed away Friday morning at the age of 80 after a 10-year battle with lung and brain cancer. The news was first reported by ABC 7.

She was best known for her work in sitcoms and romantic comedies on the big and small screens. While her first role was as an uncredited dancer in Rock Rock Rock! back in 1956, she was later propelled to stardom playing Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as well as her own spinoff, Rhoda. The role would end up earning her four Emmys and a Golden Globe throughout the 1970s. 

However, Harper also had a substantial career doing voice work in her later years. She became something of a mainstay on The Simpsons, playing seven different characters for each of her seven different appearances from 2013 through 2018. She also played the literal IHOP Diner in American Dad!, first in 2014 and again earlier this year -- making it her last role before her passing.

Along with some of America's animation staples, Harper also did some anime work. Back in 1998, she did numerous voices for a pair of series, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen and Generator Gawl. She also had a brief role in the 2012 horror flick Shiver.

Outside of genre, she appeared in a number of noteworthy projects, including The Love Boat, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, and That '70s Show. She's survived by her husband, Tony Cacciotti, and their adopted daughter, Christina.

(h/t Variety)