Valerie Harper


  1. Natalie Wood, West Side Story, 1960. Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (they won the first co-directing Oscars) saw many potential Big Apple Romeo and Juilets – Tony and Maria. As many as 22 Marias, not one Puerto Rican among them: Anna-Maria Alberghetti, Elizabeth Ashley, Diane Baker, Ina Balin,, Angie Dickinson, Jane Fonda,  Valerie Harper, Audrey Hepburn, Susan Kohner, Carol Lawrence, BarBara Luna, Suzanne Pleshette, Stephanie Powers, Jill St John, the Philippino Pilat Seurat, Elizabeth Taylor and Victoria Vetri (when billed as Angela Dorian). Plus two pairs of sisters: Italy’s Pier Angel and Marisa Pavan and Mexico’s Pilar and Pina Pellicer Harper went on to be Rhoda Morgenstern, MTM’s best friend in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970-1977. spinning off into the MTM production  of Rhoda, 1974-1978.
  2. Randee Heller, The Karate Kid, 1983.  Wanted: a mother for the Kid. Althouh she was only 14 years older than Ralph Macchio, Randee Heller (wotta name!) won Lucille LaRusso. And again in the second sequel and the Cobra  Kai series.  What a great name she had – worthy of a Marvelesque series. Randee Heller Fights Back, for example
  3. Sandy Duncan, Valerie, 1987-1991.    No TV star had ever been replaced in a series bearing their name until NBC  deep-sixed Harper in 1987.  The ex-Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her own spin-off,  Rhoda, began a new sit-com, Valerie, about Valerie Hogan, her airline pilot husband and their three sons.  Viewers loved it. Valerie hated her salary. Rather like her Rhoda battles, she threatened not to show up for the third season unless her pay was considerably increased.  She felt sure she had the upper hand. Hah! NBC, annoyed by the Rhoda fight being restaged, said it would fire her.  You’re bluffing, she said.   No, said the network, and she r was dumped like a leaky bucket. Enter  Duncan as your sister.  For the  retitled Valerie’s Family: The Hogans or The Hogan Family   by  the fourth season to avoid Harper from suing for use of her name), Harper’s character was written out (dead in a car-crash). Following her  32 episodes, 1986-1987, the series  survived without  Harper  for  a further 78 chapters over four years with Duncan.  By which time the crew was calling it: Throw Momma from the Series!  

 Birth year: 1939Death year: 2019Other name: Casting Calls:  3