Decades & MeTV Announce TV Tributes to Valerie Harper

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DECADES TV announced Tuesday it will schedule a week of Valerie Harper tributes Sept. 9 through Sept. 13 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. This follows MeTV's plans for "The Best of Rhoda" tribute on Sunday at 5 p.m. Harper died Friday after a battle with cancer.

Each day, DECADES TV will air two Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes and close with one Rhoda episode. Harper played Rhoda on the two sitcoms. Mary Tyler Moore selections include "Smokey the Bear Wants You," "The Square Shaped Room," "Enter Rhoda's Parents," "Rhoda Morganstern: Minneapolis to New York," "My Brother's Keeper," "Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady," "Rhoda's Sister Gets Married," "Love Blooms at Hempless," "The Co-Producers," and "Lou's Second Date."

The Rhoda episodes DECADES selected are "Together Again for the First Time," "One Is A Number," "The Weekend," "Blind Date," and "Rhoda Cheats." The episodes highlight Rhoda's love life and career opportunities.

MeTV has selected six episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff Rhoda to pay tribute to Harper. The episodes MeTV selected include "Rhoda, The Beautiful," "Is a Friend in Need," "A Girl's Best Mother Is Not Her Friend," and "Where There's Smoke, There's Rhoda" from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the two-part "Rhoda's Wedding" from Rhoda.

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These episodes show Rhoda entering a beauty contest, losing her job, dealing with her mother, moving in with Mary Richards (Moore), and, of course, comic misadventures before her nuptials.

Rhoda and Richards are considered landmark feminist icons in the history of television. The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a workplace comedy that showed the strides women made in the workforce in the '70s and also found the humor in those situations. Rhoda left Minneapolis for her spinoff and continued representing independent women in New York.

She won three Emmys for playing Rhoda on Mary Tyler Moore, and another for playing her on Rhoda. Harper continued working in television all her life leading shows like Valerie and City, guest-starring on The Office and The Simpsons, and competing on Dancing with the Stars.

Harper shared her cancer diagnosis in 2013. Given three months to live with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, Harper fought it and was near remission eight months later. She died Friday morning. Her husband Tony shared through their daughter Cristina Cacciotti on Twitter, "My beautiful caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06 a.m. after years of fighting cancer. She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, mia Valeria."

By Fred Topel

Originally published in UPI Entertainment News.