Valerie Harper - Biography

Last Modified: Oct 30, 2022

Valerie Harper
Profession: Actress
Best Known For: The Mary Tyler Moore Show (TV series)
Salary: Under Review
Net Worth: $1 million

Personal Details

Born on : August 22, 1939
Birth Name /
Full Name:
Valerie Kathryn Harper
Birth Place: Suffern, New York, USA
Horoscope: Leo
Father's Name: Howard Donald Harper
Mother's Name: Iva Mildred
Siblings: 2

Leah Harper (older sister)
Merrill Harper (younger brother)

High School: Lincoln High School
Ethnicity: Multi-ethnic (French, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh)
Nationality: American


Sexual Orientation: Straight
Marital Status: Married
Married Date: April 8, 1987
Husband's Name: Tony Cacciotti

Richard Schaa (1964 - 1978)

Children: 1

Cristina Harper (adopted daughter)

Died on: Aug 30, 2019 (aged 80)
Cause of death: Brain Cancer

Body Measurements

Height: 1.68 meter (5 feet 6 inch)
Weight: N/A
Hair Color: Light Brown
Eye Color: Green
Shoe Size: N/A
Dress Size: 4 US
Breast Size: 33 inch
Waist Size: 35 inch
Hip Size: 34 inch
Bra Size: N/A
Cup Size: N/A

Table of contents [Hide]

Who was Valerie Harper?

Valerie Harper was an actress by profession and American by nationality. She was best known for starring in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Freebie and the Bean, Chapter Two, etc.

Valerie Harper in 1971 (Timeline)

Valerie Harper – Bio, Age, Parents, Siblings

Valerie Harper’s birth took place on August 22, 1939, in Suffern, New York, USA. She was born Valerie Kathryn Harper to her mother Iva Mildred a nurse, and her father Howard Donald Harper, a lighting salesman. 

She was not the only child of her parents and has two siblings, older sister Leah Harper and younger brother Merrill Harper.

Education, Ethnicity

As her family moved every two years due to her father’s work, she attended numerous schools. She studied ballet in New York City and graduated from Lincoln High School in Jersey City, where her fellow classmates included Sal Mineo, Tuesday Weld, and Carol Lynley. 

Her ethnicity includes French, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh.

Valerie Harper – Boyfriend, Husband, Children, Divorce

Valerie Harper married her boyfriend Richard Schaa in December 1964. Schaa was also an actor but they divorced in 1978. She and her ex-husband does not have any children together. 

Harper went on to date and marry Tony Cacciotti on 8 April 1987. The couple adopted and raised a daughter Cristina Harper. They were married until her death on August 30, 2019, due to brain cancer.

Also read: Lin Shaye - Actress of Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary

Valerie Harper, Tony Cacciotti (People)

Valerie Harper – Career

In Broadway

Valerie Harper first began as a dancer and chorus girl on Broadway. She has performed numerous shows including Wildcat, Take Me Along, Looped, Li'l Abner, When You're in Love the Whole World is Jewish, and The Ballad of Irving, among others.

On Tv

In 1970 Valerie Harper was discovered by casting agent Ethel Winant. She was given an opportunity to audition for the role of Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which she landed. She portrayed the character from 1970–1974 and also in its spinoff series Rhoda

Other TV series in which she has starred include Valerie, Touched by an Angel, and Three Sisters (2001). Moreover, she has had guest appearances in other series while also participating in season 17 of Dancing with the Stars


Valerie Harper’s The Mary Tyler Moore Show co-stars include Mary Tyler Moore, John Amos, Cloris Leachman, and Betty White.

Also read: Julia Fox - ModelActress of Uncut Gems 

Valerie Harper as Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Parade)

Valerie Harper – Awards, Nominations

She has been nominated for 8 Primetime Emmys, 6 Golden Globes, and a Tony Award. Among all her nominations she won 4 Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe Awards in 1974.

Valerie Harper – Health, Cancer, Death

In 2009 Valerie Harper was diagnosed with lung cancer and on March 6, 2013, she revealed that she has leptomeningeal carcinomatosis. 

The doctors had given her three months to live and were treated with chemotherapy in an effort to slow its progress. She responded to the treatment well and on July 30, 2015, Harper was hospitalized in Maine after falling unconscious.

In July 2019 it was reported that she required "around the clock, 24/7 care." and was taking medication, and chemotherapy drugs and was experiencing "extreme physical and painful challenges". She has been fighting cancer and escaping her death for the last 10 years.

She passed away on August 30, 2019, due to brain cancer.

Also read: Becky Ann Baker - Actress of Girls 

Valerie Harper – Net Worth, Salary

Her net worth was estimated to be around $1 million while there have been no estimates on her annual salary.

Valerie Harper – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

On social media, Valerie Harper was active on Facebook and Twitter with thousands of followers but was absent from Instagram. She also owns an official website -

Also read: Susan Lucci - Actress, TV host, Author, Entrepreneur 

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Tags : Richard Schaal Tony Cacciotti The Mary Tyler Moore Show Rhoda Valerie Actress Valerie Harper