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Valerie Harper, beloved TV icon, dies at 80

Valerie Harper, who played one of TV’s most popular and enduring characters — the constantly dating, constantly dieting Rhoda Morgenstern  for nearly a decade starting in 1970, has died, She was 80.

The star died on Friday at 10:06 a.m., her family confirmed to ABC 7. Her cause of death was not immediately known.

Harper won three Primetime Emmy Awards for her performance, and went on to reprise the cherished role in the spinoff series “Rhoda,” for which she also earned an Emmy, in 1975.

Online tributes have been pouring in for the late actress, who graced the big screen in such films as “Freebie and the Bean” (1974) and “Chapter Two” (1979), and earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as actress Tallulah Bankhead in “Looped.”

Valerie Harper was born in Rockland County, New York in the town of Suffern to parents Iva and Donald. Her mom was a nurse, while her dad was a lighting salesman who traveled the country, taking his family with him. By the age of 13, Harper had lived in New Jersey, California, Michigan and Oregon.

While she was diagnosed early with (and successfully treated for) lung cancer in 2009, Harper was later forced to cancel the February 2013 promotional plans for her memoir, just-published at the time, I, Rhoda, when she received her terminal brain cancer diagnosis in 2013.

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