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Swithin

Valerie Harper 1939-2019

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14 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

This has been a terrible year for celebrity passings. First Luke Perry, then Doris Day, and now Valerie Harper.

While Valerie's passing is not entirely surprising (she's been ill with cancer for years and was recently placed into hospice), I am still very sad to hear that she is gone.  Valerie's passing is yet another piece of my Nick at Nite childhood that is gone.  Losing MTM, Georgia Engel, and now Valerie, within the span of a couple years is especially sad. Mary Tyler Moore, next to I Love Lucy, was my favorite show on Nick at Nite.  While I loved MTM and thought of Mary Richards as one of my role models, I knew that inside, I was always a Rhoda. 

This is me:

Image result for rhoda morgenstern gifs

Also me:

Image result for rhoda morgenstern gifs

Again me: 

Image result for rhoda morgenstern gifs

I always loved Valerie's wardrobe on both Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda. Valerie's "Rhoda" character was a nice balance between Mary and Phyllis.  When she left the show, Sue Ann and Georgette kind of filled the void, but the focus of Mary Tyler Moore changed from Mary's home life to her WJM life.

One of my favorite episodes is "Rhoda the Beautiful," when Rhoda finally loses the 20 lbs she's been trying to lose for the past two seasons.  She is still self-deprecating and refuses to accept that she looks great.  Frankly, I think she looked beautiful before, but she looks great.  I could see how working next to the very svelte MTM would make someone want to perhaps drop a few pounds, but Valerie looked great no matter what.  I thought she was gorgeous, on par with MTM. 

From "Rhoda the Beautiful" :

(Mary and Rhoda discuss how beauty pageant contestants have three part names)

MARY (mocking the Miss America contestant interviews): "Tell us, Miss Mary Jo Beth Ann Lou, what are some of your favorite hobbies?"

RHODA (acting like a stereotypical beauty pageant contestant): "My favorite hobbies are cheerleading, liking people, and living in America."

RHODA: "When I graduate from high school, I would like to become a brain surgeon... or a model!"

---

Another great Rhoda episode is the second episode of the series, "Today I am a Ma'am." 

RHODA: "You can really get close to someone fast when you hit him with a car."

---

RIP Valerie. Right now I am watching the best Rhoda-centric episodes of Mary Tyler Moore in your honor. It's the episode where Rhoda and Lou casually date.  I would also like to own Rhoda's "I live to boogie" t-shirt.  

I remember watching MTM when I was @ 7 at my aunt Ruth’s house.  Guess my brothers and I were there often on Saturday nights.  I remember my aunt would stop us from playing with our cousins to watch this show, so I got familiar with the characters.

After a couple of years , I remember my aunt pointing out one night that Rhoda was actually more beautiful than Mary.  I was shocked; Laura Petrie (from reruns) was gorgeous; Rhoda seemed dumpy; heavy and wearing a bun.  But I began to notice this afterwards.  When she lost the weight and cut her hair and started wearing 70s chic,  all of a sudden Mary’s middle of the road look seemed ho-hum by comparison.  

In the first episode of Rhoda, I remember her giving her sister, played by Julie Kavner, playing the dumpy one, make-up tips.  Kavner asks, “When do you know you put on enough make-up?”  Harper answers, “When you look like Alice Cooper, you went too far”.

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News of Valerie's passing just sucks.  I know, shouldn't be a surprise given her age and recent health issues, but that doesn't make it sting less.  :(

Liked her on Mary Tyler Moore's show and on her own spin-off.   And my best bud at the time had such a crush on RHODA I'm surprised he didn't short out his TV with his drool:D 

You will be missed Valerie.  Have a nice and well deserved peaceful rest.

Sepiatone

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My favorite Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes are usually the ones where Rhoda had an expended role, namely "A Girl's Best Mother is Not Her Friend" [Nancy Walker's second visit], "Smokey the Bear Wants You" [Rhoda dates a man who wants to be a forest ranger], "the Birds...and....um...Bees"[has quite a bit to say when Mary is to teach Bess the facts of life], "The Square-Shaped Room" [tries to redecorate Lou's living room], "Where There's Smoke There's Rhoda" [post-fire, Mary and Rhoda become roommates], "Some of My Best Friends are Rhoda" [where Mary slams Mary Frann for being against Rhoda because of her Jewish heritage], "Rhoda the Beautiful" [beauty contest one], "My Brother's Keeper"[ she plans to date Phyllis' brother], "Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady" [tries to start a business with plants.... or does she?], 'Angels in the Snow" [Mary briefly dates Peter Strauss, Rhoda skewers youth fashion especially in the infamous store Shot Down in Ecuador Junior]

 

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Fetv just stopped showing TMTMS last week after it had run two episodes a weekday for a little

less than a year. Of course they were edited. It's pretty obvious when they have scenes in the

closing credits that weren't shown during the episode. Some of my favorites with Rhoda were

the one where she and Mary attended the club for divorced people, called something like the

Better Luck Next Time Around, and found out that, just like themselves, most of the people

weren't divorced, the one where they attended Mary's high school class reunion, and the one

where Rhoda invited a man she had been in a fender bender with to a small party and she

found out he was married, Armand Linton and his wife....Nancy. No doubt there are more, but

those are some that come to mind. R.I.P.

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I just re-watched the video of Valerie's tie winning Emmy from 1972, along with Sally Struthers. 

I remember that at the time their was some criticism of her apparent disappointment that Cloris Leachman wasn't her cowinner and snubbing of Sally.  But in reality,  she was very, very gracious to Sally (suggesting Sally go first with her acceptance).  She does call out Cloris in the audience.  Noticed the Emmies were at tables a la Golden Globes and not a theater at least that year.

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Role Model: I was about 10-15 years old when MTM Show was on. My Mother worked in the fashion industry and I always knew women could have a rewarding career. 

A few years later I got my first job as Window Dresser, just like Rhoda - although by that time it was called "Visual Merchandiser".

As an artist I knew my life would be like Rhoda's, living in a cramped attic apartment in contrast to college educated Mary who had a higher paying "career" who could afford a nicer, more spacious living space. 

rhodas-apartment.jpg

I think everyone knew Rhoda was beautiful except her character, as it is so often in real life. I loved when she won the Hemple's Dept Store Beauty Contest. The writing on that show was extraordinary.

Thank you Valerie Harper, for not only making us laugh, but crafting a great role model for many of us.

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One of my favorite TV lines was on RHODA (although not Valerie's line) when suspecting her sister (by JULIE KAVNER) was unknowingly dating a married man, corners the guy when he comes to see Brenda and asked him point blank:, "Are you MARRIED?"  to which the guy sheepishly answers, "Ummmmm, a little."  :D  So---

NO argument from ME about the level of writing on that show TIKI!  ;) :) 

Sepiatone

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Not to go too deep into the MTM weeds, but in at least one episode Rhoda mentioned that

she made more money than Mary did and it was not a joke. IRL you'd wonder why she didn't

get a bigger apartment and move out of her extended closet. It was even funnier that Lou

wanted to move into Rhoda's apartment. And actually Mary didn't have a college education.

Rhoda spilled the beans in the WJM newsroom without meaning any harm. I can't recall if

Mary attended college for a year or two or not. 

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3 hours ago, Vautrin said:

Not to go too deep into the MTM weeds, but in at least one episode Rhoda mentioned that

she made more money than Mary did and it was not a joke. IRL you'd wonder why she didn't

get a bigger apartment and move out of her extended closet. It was even funnier that Lou

wanted to move into Rhoda's apartment. And actually Mary didn't have a college education.

Rhoda spilled the beans in the WJM newsroom without meaning any harm. I can't recall if

Mary attended college for a year or two or not. 

Hmmm...I'm not sure either.

But, I DO recall that Ted started out at a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno California if that's any help at all. ;)

(...R.I.P., Valerie) 

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50 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Hmmm...I'm not sure either.

But, I DO recall that Ted started out at a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno California if that's any help at all. ;)

(...R.I.P., Valerie) 

Come on everyone knows Ted got his start as a cop in a sleepy little town in the heart of California. 

Even a fly knows this.

 

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20 hours ago, Dargo said:

Hmmm...I'm not sure either.

But, I DO recall that Ted started out at a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno California if that's any help at all. ;)

(...R.I.P., Valerie) 

Not bad for a lonely young lad who cowered in his bedroom because no one invited him to the

school dance.

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On 8/31/2019 at 3:38 PM, CinemaInternational said:

My favorite Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes are usually the ones where Rhoda had an expended role, namely "A Girl's Best Mother is Not Her Friend" [Nancy Walker's second visit], "Smokey the Bear Wants You" [Rhoda dates a man who wants to be a forest ranger], "the Birds...and....um...Bees"[has quite a bit to say when Mary is to teach Bess the facts of life], "The Square-Shaped Room" [tries to redecorate Lou's living room], "Where There's Smoke There's Rhoda" [post-fire, Mary and Rhoda become roommates], "Some of My Best Friends are Rhoda" [where Mary slams Mary Frann for being against Rhoda because of her Jewish heritage], "Rhoda the Beautiful" [beauty contest one], "My Brother's Keeper"[ she plans to date Phyllis' brother], "Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady" [tries to start a business with plants.... or does she?], 'Angels in the Snow" [Mary briefly dates Peter Strauss, Rhoda skewers youth fashion especially in the infamous store Shot Down in Ecuador Junior]

 

SMILE!

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& somewhat surprising too, she licked the big C" & brain cancer about a decade ago and was so hap[py. Tv's Robin Roberts-(GMA) did the same & to date is still A OK

 

NATALIE WOOD CONNECTION, Harper had a supporting role in her penultimate picture from 1980 Last Married Couple in America (**)

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I'm a few days late to the news of her passing, but it's still sad to hear that she's gone. 

I actually didn't start watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda until I was in my late 20s, better late than never I suppose. Anyway I always liked Rhoda because even though Mary had a stylish fashion sense (to some) and had her own apartment and had many dates, I loved Rhoda. Her sense of humor was fantastic, she was so relatable (well still is to me) despite the fact I am neither a New Yorker or Jewish. I can totally relate to the weight problems and being chronically single. However, I try to use humor throughout my situations just like Rhoda! 

As for Valerie she was so brave with her cancer battle and throughout it all was able to have a positive attitude. I really have a lot of respect for people like that. 

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The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a great show, and Valerie Harper was a big part of it.  Her and Mary had great chemistry.  She will be missed.

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Like a lot of folks my age and older (I was born at the tail end of the '50s), Mary Tyler Moore in its first run was a memorable part of my TV watching when I was growing up.  Like All In The Family and The Bob Newhart ShowMTM was a show that everyone in the family could enjoy together every Saturday night.  Even among the many great characters on the MTM show, Mary and Rhoda were the central figures that we all loved.  Although MTM was a very good show throughout its run, the best years were the early ones because of Valerie Harper's Rhoda.

My particular family got a special kick out of MTM being set in Minneapolis because we came from the Twin Cities originally.  Even though I'm sure we all realized that the show was filmed in California, we felt like it was a tribute to our old home, and we tried to recognize the occasional outdoor shots that we remembered (or thought we remembered) from Minnesota, like the old downtown Dayton's department store in the background of the opening credits.  (Dayton's shot isn't the famous one where Mary tosses her beret -- that's another local department store, Donaldson's.)

My family also enjoyed the Rhoda show and watched it regularly,  But because it was on during the week, when my dad was often traveling on business, watching it wasn't as much of a family get-together.  Valerie, Julie Kavner, and Nancy Walker weren't quite like the Midwesterners that we thought we recognized on MTM, but their characters were funny and endearing nonetheless.

It's now going on 50 years later, and my wife and I still love Mary and Rhoda.  We enjoyed the old Nick-at-Nite reruns back in the '90s, and we now have our own set of the DVDs so we can enjoy the show any time.

I'm sorry that Mary, Valerie, Ted, Georgia, and Nancy aren't with us anymore.  I hope they (as well as Ed Asner, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, and Gavin MacLeod) got as much happiness out of their lives as they gave to other people with their performances.  

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9 minutes ago, BingFan said:

Like All In The Family and The Bob Newhart ShowMTM was a show that everyone in the family could enjoy together every Saturday night.

You must be talking about your own family since All In The Family was a very polarising show.  E.g.  family members (like my mom) that believed Archie was the good-guy and that Mike was a stoner commie.

While MTM was much less polarising,  it was labeled as a feminist show and I can see that creating some family conflicts.

 

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1 minute ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

You must be talking about your own family since All In The Family was a very polarising show.  E.g.  family members (like my mom) that believed Archie was the good-guy and that Mike was a stoner commie.

While MTM was much less polarising,  it was labeled as a feminist show and I can see that creating some family conflicts.

I agree. We have people sugar-coating these shows now, with a wand of nostalgia. But the truth is these shows were cutting-edge, counter-cultural and groundbreaking in many ways. In ways that made a lot of viewers uncomfortable. They were not pablum for the masses. Mary was a far cry from Donna Reed. And Archie was a far cry from Ward Cleaver.

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13 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

You must be talking about your own family since All In The Family was a very polarising show.  E.g.  family members (like my mom) that believed Archie was the good-guy and that Mike was a stoner commie.

While MTM was much less polarising,  it was labeled as a feminist show and I can see that creating some family conflicts.

 

You're right that All In The Family was (potentially) more polarizing than Mary Tyler Moore.  There were definitely no conflicting views at my house when it came to MTM

But the fact that All In The Family showed both sides of the cultural divide in one household was what I think brought my family together when we watched it.  My parents were definitely conservative, and probably agreed with some of the stuff that Archie Bunker said -- although they never would have been so crude or rude about it.  At the same time, I thought Mike/Meathead and Gloria were pretty cool, trying to live according to more liberal values.  (I don't know for certain how my younger brothers viewed the characters, but I'd guess, based on their current politics, that the breakdown was the same -- one for Archie, the other for Mike and Gloria.) 

Despite these views, we all thought that Archie was pretty ridiculous, that Mike and Gloria probably went too far in arguing with him, and that Edith was practically a saint to put up with them.  It all added up to a lot of laughs from from my family that transcended our political/cultural views.

I'm not sugar-coating it because of nostalgic memories, although I could see how that would happen.  To tell you the truth, I'm really kind of surprised now when I think back on us all laughing together at Archie, Meathead, Gloria, and Edith, even though my parents loved Nixon as much as Archie did, and I had the opposite viewpoint.

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Just now, TopBilled said:

I agree. We have people sugar-coating these shows now, with a wand of nostalgia. But the truth is these shows were cutting-edge, counter-cultural and groundbreaking in many ways. In ways that made a lot of viewers uncomfortable. They were not pablum for the masses. Mary was a far cry from Donna Reed. And Archie was a far cry from Ward Cleaver.

i think with Mary Tyler Moore, it appears more wholesome in retrospect, within a few years racier sitcoms were coming in the form of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Soap, plus others after that that were more provocative, first on the networks, and especially on cable channels like FX and HBO, where they are usually studded with language, and (on HBO at least) nudity. In today's world, even those other two 70s ones are considered tame. I was thrown for a loop when the DVDs of Hartman said "Not Rated. Appropriate for all ages", a pretty shocking statement when the show included over time a flasher, a house of prostitution, affairs, insatiability, a nervous breakdown, massacres,spousal abuse, diseases of an intimate sort, bizarre freak demises, and waxy yellow buildup on the kitchen floor ;) among other such sundry topics.

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13 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

i think with Mary Tyler Moore, it appears more wholesome in retrospect, within a few years racier sitcoms were coming in the form of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Soap, plus others after that that were more provocative, first on the networks, and especially on cable channels like FX and HBO, where they are usually studded with language, and (on HBO at least) nudity. In today's world, even those other two 70s ones are considered tame. I was thrown for a loop when the DVDs of Hartman said "Not Rated. Appropriate for all ages", a pretty shocking statement when the show included over time a flasher, a house of prostitution, affairs, insatiability, a nervous breakdown, massacres,spousal abuse, diseases of an intimate sort, bizarre freak demises, and waxy yellow buildup on the kitchen floor ;) among other such sundry topics.

I think people confuse the wholesomeness of Laura Petrie (Moore's earlier sitcom role) with the spunkiness of Mary Richards. They were two different characters. Also, Mary was originally slated to be a divorcee, which couldn't get past the censors in 1970. So she became a single unmarried woman who obviously was not a virgin.

Interestingly, Valerie's character Rhoda did become a divorcee on her successful spinoff. But the minute Rhoda and Joe broke up (and subsequently divorced) the ratings went down. The public did not want to see a divorced and well-adjusted woman.

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Just now, TopBilled said:

I think people confuse the wholesomeness of Laura Petrie (Moore's earlier sitcom role) with the spunkiness of Mary Richards. They were two different characters. Also, Mary was originally slated to be a divorcee, which couldn't get past the censors in 1970. So she became a single unmarried woman who obviously was not a virgin. Interestingly, Valerie's character Rhoda did become a divorcee on her successful spinoff.

I've read a book on the making of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, the time it was on the air, and the aftereffects on cast and crew. CBS seemingly had a few rules in 1970: a show musn't be about a divorcee, musn't be set in New York, and musn't be completely about a Jewish character (which is highly anti-Semetic). Rhoda broke all those rules just a few years later on the same network......

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4 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

I've read a book on the making of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, the time it was on the air, and the aftereffects on cast and crew. CBS seemingly had a few rules in 1970: a show musn't be about a divorcee, musn't be set in New York, and musn't be completely about a Jewish character (which is highly anti-Semetic). Rhoda broke all those rules just a few years later on the same network......

Yeah, I think Rhoda was one of the more groundbreaking shows of the 70s. However, Valerie Harper was not Jewish and neither was Nancy Walker. So it was okay for them to play-act being Jewish. It would take a while before a network would actually green light a sitcom about an openly Jewish character played by a Jewish performer.

The earliest one I can think of at the moment-- Jackie Mason in Chicken Soup, from 1989. And in that series, the gimmick was Jackie being involved with Lynn Redgrave, who was playing a Catholic. So the comedy was supposed to derive from their interfaith relationship.

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11 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Yeah, I think Rhoda was one of the more groundbreaking shows of the 70s. However, Valerie Harper was not Jewish and neither was Nancy Walker. So it was okay for them to play-act being Jewish. It would take a while before a network would actually green light a sitcom about an openly Jewish character played by a Jewish performer.

The earliest one I can think of at the moment-- Jackie Mason in Chicken Soup, from 1989. And in that series, the gimmick was Jackie being involved with Lynn Redgrave, who was playing a Catholic. So the comedy was supposed to derive from their interfaith relationship.

As far as I know, you're right that during the time period we're discussing -- the late 60s and 70s -- the networks seemed disinclined to feature Jewish characters as the central figures in their sitcoms.

But the same networks seemed a bit more open-minded if you look back to their early shows that transferred from radio.  The Goldbergs, starring (and written and created by) Gertrude Berg, started on radio in 1929 and moved to TV in 1949, airing on CBS, NBC, the Dumont network, and in syndication until 1956 (according to Wikipedia).  Ms. Berg even won the first Emmy for Best Actress in 1950.  The Goldbergs was explicitly about a Jewish family.

And Jack Benny (born Benny Kubelsky) and George Burns (born Nathan Birnbaum), two of the most prominent comedians of the radio and early TV eras, were Jewish, although their shows didn't emphasize their ethnic backgrounds.  Jack's show was a mix of sitcom and variety show, but The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show was a straight-ahead sitcom about the show-biz couple.

It's interesting that in the early TV years, the networks were willing to stick with Jewish stars who were already established, but they weren't willing until years later to give the same opportunities to younger performers.

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