Valerie Harper

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Valerie Harper discusses her early years as a dancer in New York City, her time as a member of Second City and moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting. She talks in detail about her most famous character, Rhoda Morgenstern, whom she portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the spinoff, Rhoda. She reminisces about working with Mary Tyler Moore, James L. Brooks, Jay Sandrich and many others of the cast and crew of both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda. Harper also describes why she was only on Valerie for one year, and outlines her current theater projects. Jim McKairnes conducted the interview in North Hollywood, CA on February 26, 2009.

"I like a lot of preparation because when you get to the moment, you can just forget your lines, you're not thinking, 'what's my line?' you're feeling what the character is, and only that line can come out."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Valerie Harper on working with Mary Tyler Moore
Valerie Harper on shooting the pilot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on her initial hesitation in starring in her own spin-off show, Rhoda
Valerie Harper on how marriage changed "Rhoda"
Valerie Harper on how she'd like to be remembered
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on her siblings; on wanting to be a dancer; on college at the New School; on getting into the Radio City Music Hall Court of Ballet
On joining Second City; on first husband Dick Schaal and hosting a daytime talk show with him in New York
On moving to Los Angeles in 1968; on getting the role of "Rhoda Morgenstern" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show;  on who she based "Rhoda" on, "Rhoda's" fashion sense, and "Rhoda" as a character

Chapter 2

On working with Mary Tyler Moore, Grant Tinker and Jay Sandrich; on shooting the pilot episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
On the success of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on specific episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on her own spinoff Rhoda and how marriage changed the character; on the TV reunion special Mary and Rhoda
On television movies: Fun and Games, The Shadow Box; on the series Valerie; on unsuccessful series in which she starred - The Office and City

Chapter 3

On working on Touched By an Angel, Melrose Place, and Less Than Perfect; on her husband Tony
On her (then) current theater projects: "Looped"; on her acting style; on the highlights of her career; on "Golda's Balcony"; on how she'd like to be remembered
Shows

City

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Valerie Harper the unsuccessful series City in which she starred

Doctors, The

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Valerie Harper on her first role on television, on The Doctors

Fun and Games

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Valerie Harper on the TV movie Fun and Games about sexual harassment

Hogan Family, The aka Valerie

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Valerie Harper on the drama around starring in Valerie aka The Hogan Family

Less Than Perfect

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Valerie Harper on working on Less Than Perfect

Love, American Style

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Valerie Harper on writing a piece with her husband for Love, American Style

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

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Valerie Harper on getting the role of Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on the show and the character of "Rhoda"
Valerie Harper on one of the longest laughs on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on Mary Tyler Moore
Valerie Harper on working with The Mary Tyler Moore Show / Rhoda director Jay Sandrich
Valerie Harper on specific episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show: "Support Your Local Mother"
Valerie Harper on the anticipation of "Rhoda"'s wedding (on Rhoda) after years of watching her perpetually single on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on interacting with the writers on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on shooting the pilot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The: "Support Your Local Mother"

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Valerie Harper on specific episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show: "Support Your Local Mother"

Mary and Rhoda

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Valerie Harper on the reunion TV movie Mary and Rhoda
Valerie Harper on her opinion of where "Rhoda" would be "today" (following the reunion TV movie Mary and Rhoda)

Melrose Place

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Valerie Harper on working on Melrose Place

Playboy After Dark

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Valerie Harper on doing sketches on Hugh Hefner's Playboy After Dark

Rhoda

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Valerie Harper on working with The Mary Tyler Moore Show / Rhoda director Jay Sandrich
Valerie Harper on her initial hesitation in starring in her own spin-off show, Rhoda
Valerie Harper on her responsibilities on Rhoda and the popularity of the show
Valerie Harper on Rhoda getting married
Valerie Harper on the anticipation of "Rhoda"'s wedding (on Rhoda) after years of watching her perpetually single on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on her opinion of where "Rhoda" would be "today" (following the reunion TV movie Mary and Rhoda)

Touched By an Angel

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Valerie Harper on working on Touched By An Angel  
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Valerie Harper on the character of "Rhoda Morgenstern"
Valerie Harper on the elements she brought to the character of "Rhoda Morgenstern"
Valerie Harper on "Rhoda Morgenstern's" fashion sense v. that of "Mary Richards"
Valerie Harper on how marriage changed "Rhoda"
Professions

Actress

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Valerie Harper on joining Second City and her acting philosophy
Valerie Harper on her acting style
Genres

Comedy Series

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Valerie Harper on playing "Rhoda Morgenstern" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on Rhoda
People

Tallulah Bankhead

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Valerie Harper on her (then) current theater projects: "Looped" playing Tallulah Bankhead

James L. Brooks

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Valerie Harper on auditioning for the role of "Rhoda Morgenstern" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on James L. Brooks not wanting to use Yiddish in The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on interacting with the writers on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on James L. Brooks hiring writer Treva Silverman

Carol Burnett

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Valerie Harper on Carol Burnett's support when Harper was fired from Valerie aka The Hogan Family

Allan Burns

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Valerie Harper on auditioning for the role of "Rhoda Morgenstern" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Dave Davis

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Valerie Harper on auditioning for the role of "Rhoda Morgenstern" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Hugh Hefner

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Valerie Harper on doing sketches on Hugh Hefner's Playboy After Dark

Skitch Henderson

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Valerie Harper on hosting a daytime talk show with her first husband and friend, Richard Schaal

Carol Kane

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Valerie Harper on Carol Burnett's support when Harper was fired from Valerie aka The Hogan Family

Joanna Kerns

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Valerie Harper on working on Less Than Perfect

Ted Knight

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Valerie Harper on the character of "Rhoda Morgenstern"

Alyssa Milano

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Valerie Harper on working on Melrose Place

Tom Miller

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Valerie Harper on the drama around starring in Valerie aka The Hogan Family

Mary Tyler Moore

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Valerie Harper on auditioning for the role of "Rhoda Morgenstern" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on Mary Tyler Moore teaching her about staging and calming her down 
Valerie Harper on Mary Tyler Moore refusing to smoke so Harper incorporated other props into scenes
Valerie Harper on working with Mary Tyler Moore

Marge Mullen

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Valerie Harper on making "Rhoda" loveable

Paul Newman

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Valerie Harper on Paul Newman directing her in the TV movie The Shadow Box

Jay Sandrich

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Valerie Harper on auditioning for the role of "Rhoda Morgenstern" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Valerie Harper on working with The Mary Tyler Moore Show / Rhoda director Jay Sandrich

Richard Schaal

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Valerie Harper on her first husband and friend, Richard Schaal
Valerie Harper on hosting a daytime talk show with her first husband and friend, Richard Schaal
Valerie Harper on writing a piece with her husband for Love, American Style

Treva Silverman

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Valerie Harper on Treva Silverman knowing how to write "Rhoda"
Valerie Harper on Treva Silverman in the testosterone heavy writer's room

Fred Silverman

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Valerie Harper on Fred Silverman wanting her to spin-off to Rhoda

Aaron Spelling

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Valerie Harper on working on Melrose Place

Grant Tinker

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Valerie Harper on Grant Tinker

Nancy Walker

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Valerie Harper on specific episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show: "Support Your Local Mother"

Martha Williamson

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Valerie Harper on working on Touched By An Angel , again working with Mary Tyler Moore

Ethel Winant

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Valerie Harper on getting the role of "Rhoda Morgenstern" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show

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