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Actress Valerie Harper won three consecutive Emmy Awards for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Valerie Harper - I, Rhoda (3:54)
Betty White - Mini Biography (3:28)
Actress Valerie Harper ("The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda") discusses her new autobiography, "I, Rhoda." Video courtesy of Simon & Schuster. Click "Buy Now" to learn more about the book.
During an era that showcased actresses in young wives and mother roles, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" revolutionized the image of women on TV.
Though Betty White has always looked like the sugary sweet girl-next-door, her comedic talents often tap into her acid wit.
Betty White is best known for her roles on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Golden Girls." She has appeared for decades on talk shows and game shows and spends her free time advocating for animals.
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(Harper married Tony Cacciotti in 1987, and they have one daughter, Christine Cacciotti.)
In 1970, with no television acting experience on her résumé save a few turns as an extra, Harper was cast in a prominent role in the popular CBS sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Harper played Rhoda Morgenstern, a Jewish girl from the Bronx who befriends her neighbor, Mary. The role instantly transformed Harper into a television star,
and she won three consecutive Emmy Awards (1971-1973) for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her performance. In 1974, Harper's character received her own spin-off show, Rhoda. Rhoda also proved a big hit, sometimes even earning better ratings than its parent show. In 1975, Harper won both the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Since Rhoda went off the air in 1978, Harper has continued to appear frequently on the big screen and on TV. She has acted in the films Freebie and the Bean (1974), The Last Married Couple in America (1980), Blame it on Rio (1984) and the TV movie Mary and Rhoda (2000). She has also appeared on numerous popular televisions shows, including City (1990), Touched by an Angel (1996, 1999), Sex and the City (1999) and That '70s Show (2001).
In 1986, NBC gave Harper her own show, Valerie, a family-oriented sitcom Harper hoped would revive her career as a television star. However, the show became the source of one of the greatest legal disputes in TV history when, after two seasons, NBC suddenly fired Harper from her own show. Harper sued NBC for wrongful dismissal, demanding damages and an injunction against using her name in the show's title. NBC then countersued Harper for libel. In the end, Harper won some of the damages she sought and NBC changed the name of the show to The Hogan Family.
In her later years, Harper returned to the place where she first made a name for herself—the stage. In 2007, she portrayed former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in a national tour of the one-person show Golda's Balcony. And in 2010, she returned to Broadway to star as actress Tallulah Bankhead in the play Looped, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress.
In January 2013, Harper received some heartbreaking news. She was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Doctors gave her only a few months to live. That March, Harper shared her tragic news with People magazine. She remained upbeat despite her terminal illness, telling People that "I don't think of dying. I think of being here now."
By that summer, Harper received some amazing news. She appeared on the Today show in August to discuss how her illness had responded positively to treatment. While her disease is still uncurable, Harper has bought herself more time to enjoy her life. She announced in September that she would be joining the cast of Dancing With the Stars. On the dance competition, Harper competed against actress Leah Remini and science expert and television personality Bill Nye among others. She was eliminated after a less-than-stellar performance of a Viennese waltz. Harper told ABC News that she wasn't upset about leaving the show. "I’m happy to have been here for four weeks." She further explained that "If the show’s about good dancing and achieving ballroom styles, I wasn’t there yet."
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The famous dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars has seen more than a dozen seasons and a gamut of stars, including Apolo Anton Ohno, Kirstie Alley, Joey Fatone, Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, Buzz Aldrin, Brandy, Wynonna Judd, Dorothy Hamill, D.L. Hughley, Mýa, Jacoby Jones, Ingo Rademacher and Aly Raisman. Learn more about the show's contestants, who, for a period, swapped their skills as athletes, actors, musicians, comedians, TV personalities and politicians for a chance to show off their footwork on national TV.
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