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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 her…


By the way, Valerie, you are correct…I am a true Rhoda-Rooter.


Read the full Valerie Harper Interview


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Gary Barg


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