‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ star Valerie Harper, who played street-smart Rhoda in 2 sitcoms, dies at 80

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 02: Actress Valerie Harper arrives to AARP The Magazine’s 14th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 2, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Valerie Harper, who scored guffaws and stole hearts as Rhoda Morgenstern on back-to-back hit sitcoms in the 1970s, has died. She was 80.

Longtime family friend Dan Watt confirmed Harper died Friday, adding the family wasn’t immediately releasing any further details.

Harper was a breakout star playing the lovable sidekick on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” then as the funny leading lady of the spinoff series, “Rhoda.”

In March 2013, she revealed that she had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She had battled lung cancer in 2009, and her husband-manager had said recently that he’d been advised to place her in hospice.

Harper appeared on Broadway and in feature films including “Freebie and the Bean” and “Chapter Two.”

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