Celebrities Remember TV Icon Valerie Harper: She Was 'the Epitome of Strength and Humor'

The Mary Tyler Moore Show star died at the age of 80 on Friday after battling cancer and other health issues

Valerie Harper
Valerie Harper. Photo: Joe Pugliese

After news broke on Friday of beloved TV actress Valerie Harper’s death, many other celebrities have shared their grief on social media.

Several stars spoke of Harper’s strength, as she battled cancer and other health problems before her death, and mentioned her iconic role in The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Rhoda Morgenstern.

“Even when she was down she danced and showed the world that she refused to let cancer beat her. Now Rhoda is with Mary in heaven. RIP Valerie Harper. You were the epitome of strength and humor,” wrote Academy Award-winner Marlee Matlin on Twitter.

“A beautiful woman, a wonderful actress, a great friend and with balls bigger than mine. Her brilliance burst through and shined its light upon all of us. Goodnight beautiful. I’ll see you soon,” wrote Ed Asner, sharing a throwback photo with Harper.

Alyssa Milano wrote of her late Melrose Place costar who portrayed her character’s mother on the series in two episodes, “Valerie Harper was always the most gracious and the kindest actor on set. She will be missed. Rest In Peace.”

“I think Valerie Harper was awesome,” wrote Better Call Saul‘s Michael McKean.

“Another wonderful actor passes away. Loved this show growing up,” Kevin Sorbo tweeted.

RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Joslyn Fox wrote of Harper’s inspiration as Rhoda, writing on Twitter: “RIP @ValerieHarper For those of us who were never a Mary, we were proud to be a Rhoda. Forever an icon, defying the odds. May you now finally rest.”

Valerie Harper

William Shatner wrote, “Condolences to the family of Valerie Harper. Going to miss you Rhoda Morgenstern!”

“Wow will miss this tv icon! I grew up watching her prayers to her family, friends & tv family #ValerieHarper,” said actress Jaqueline Fleming on Twitter.

Added comedy writer and producer Simon Blackwell, “Rhoda was a terrific show and Valerie Harper such a superb lead – real, honest and hugely funny.”

RELATED VIDEO: Valerie Harper’s Husband Says Doctors Want His Wife in Hospice Care But He ‘Can’t’ & ‘Won’t’ Do It

Harper died Friday at 10:06 a.m., her daughter Cristina Cacciotti confirmed on Facebook.

Sharing a message from her father, and Harper’s husband, Tony Cacciotti, Christina wrote,”My dad has asked me to pass on this message: ‘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. — Anthony.'”

Over the past few years, Harper was battling several health issues, including leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, lung cancer and brain cancer. As recently as July, a family friend set up a GoFundMe page titled “The Valerie Harper Cancer Support Fund” to help the family with medical costs.

The campaign raised more than $40,000 from friends, family and many of Harper’s devoted fans within the first week before it was shut down after members of the entertainment industry stepped up to assist with Harper’s medical expenses.

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