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Ed Asner, William Shatner and More Remember Valerie Harper: ‘A Wonderful Actress, a Great Friend’

‘Mary Tyler Moore’ and “Rhoda’ star died Friday following a battle with cancer

Friends and peers paid tribute to Valerie Harper Friday following the news of her death following a six-year battle with brain cancer.

“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,” Ed Asner, her co-star on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” tweeted Friday. “Goodnight beautiful. I’ll see you soon.”

The 80-year-old actress was best known for portraying Rhoda Morgenstern, Mary Richards’ witty, edgy and loving neighbor on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the early 1970s before her “Rhoda” spinoff which ran from 1974 to 1978. From 1986 to ’87, her sitcom “Valerie” (later titled “Valerie’s Family” and “The Hogan Family”) aired on NBC. In addition, Harper appeared in more than a dozen feature films and won four Emmy Awards and was nominated for a Tony Award for her role as Tallulah Bankhead in “Looped.”

“Condolences to the family of Valerie Harper,” “Star Trek” star William Shatner tweeted. “Going to miss you Rhoda Morgenstern!”

“Sad to hear about the passing of #ValerieHarper. 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,” tweeted “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts.

“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,” said “Family Guy” and “West Wing” actress Marlee Matlin.

“Rhoda was a terrific show and Valerie Harper such a superb lead – real, honest and hugely funny,” “Veep” screenwriter Simon Blackwell tweeted.

“Certain people become a part of our lives–and a part of our families. #ValerieHarper was one of those precious few. She was part of an ensemble but always had a comedic spark all her own. We were lucky to have her,” said film critic Leonard Maltin.

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