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The Valerie Harper Caregiver Interview
The Time: Last Week. The Voice on the
other end of the phone line: Unmistakable Valerie
Harper/Rhoda. In a word (or four): she was open, fun,
funny and bubbly (but, what else would you expect?).
And maybe I did expect all of that; after all, having
interviewed many of her co-stars and friends over the
years, I knew that she is truly beloved in her personal
life as well as her career. And in fact, this was the
same feeling I got when reading her new book I, Rhoda.
What I did not expect was having an in-depth
conversation with a true caregiver. And one from
whom I learned a lot.
Like the rest of the world, I received the news
yesterday about Valerie’s brain cancer diagnosis with
shock and grief. I felt for her fans, her loving
husband and daughter, and her friends. It is only
coincidence that the Today’s Caregiver magazine’s cover
interview for March/April is with Valerie. But, I am
truly grateful for her time and her words of wisdom.
Gary Barg: Valerie, what a
pleasure it is to talk with you and I’m thrilled to
spend time with you today.
Valerie Harper: Oh, well, you grew up a little
Rhoda-Rooter, I know you did, Gary [laugh].
Gary Barg: I have to tell
you, Valerie, I read the book, I, Rhoda, and couldn’t
put it down. Some of my favorite interviews that I’ve
done for the magazine were mentioned in your book – Ed
Asner, Betty White, Gerald McRaney, and Delta Burke –
they were fun.
Valerie Harper: Oh, my God, what a couple. They’re
wonderful. And I had a front row seat for that romance;
it was lovely. Mac and I would take Delta up to
Vancouver on a Sunday night to shoot the movie. We’d
meet on the set the next day and then, Friday night,
we’d rush to the plane to get me back to my newly
adopted daughter, my brother and my mom, who was dealing
with lung cancer. And he was rushing back to see his
darling – inamorata, is it? The person you’re engaged
to, in Italian [laugh].
Gary Barg: Like many
family caregivers, when your mom took ill with lung
cancer in the 80s, you brought her home and you nursed
By the way, Valerie, you are correct…I
am a true Rhoda-Rooter.
Read the full Valerie Harper Interview
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