Celebrities took to social media on Friday to mourn the death of Valerie Harper, who played the Bronx-accented Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its topline spinoff “Rhoda.” The Emmy-winning actress died Friday at 80 years old after being diagnosed with lung and brain cancer in 2009.
Ed Asner, who played Lou Grant opposite Harper in the famous ’70s show and his own eponymous spinoff series, was one of the first to respond to her death. “A beautiful woman, a wonderful actress, a great friend and with balls bigger than mine,” Asner wrote on Twitter. “Her brilliance burst through and shined its light upon all of us. Goodnight beautiful. I’ll see you soon.”
Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin also shared her condolences on Twitter, saying Harper would join Mary Tyler Moore, who died at the age of 80 in 2017. “Even when she was down she danced and showed the world that she refused to let cancer beat her,” Matlin wrote. “Now Rhoda is with Mary in heaven. RIP Valerie Harper. You were the epitome of strength and humor.”
SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement, “Valerie Harper was a wonderful actor who made us laugh and cry and laugh again. She cared very much about the membership and we appreciate her service to the union. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends. May she rest in peace.”
Other celebrities such as Cyndi Lauper, Robin Roberts, Topher Grace, Alyssa Milano and Michael Schur also spoke out about the star’s death.
“Sad to hear about the passing of #ValerieHarper,” Roberts tweeted. “She was incredibly courageous facing cancer with her humor and grace. Thinking of her devoted family, friends, and many fans. Like Mary Tyler Moore she could turn the world on with her smile.”