She was most famous for the wise cracking love starved sidekick from the Mary Tyler Moore Show from the 1970's. Introduced on an episode as a new lodger in the rooming house Moore lived in, Harper quickly broke the role out into her own spinoff "Rhoda" from 74-78.

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 11: Actress Valerie Harper speaks onstage during the 'The Town That Came A-Courtin' ' panel discussion at the UP portion of the 2014 Winter Television Critics Association tour at the Langham Hotel on January 11, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

In the 80s she reappeared on weekly TV with 'Valerie' in 86-87 and was seen regularly on the small screen for over thirty years. In addition to her most famous roles Harper appeared on The Simpsons, American Dad! and, the Americanized version of The Office. Add another dozen movie jobs and it's easy to see Valerie Harper has been a part of the fabric of US pop-culture as much as Club54 or disco music or any other deep rooted entity you'd care to name.

Life since the turn of the century hasn't been all bright lights and limousine premiers for Ms. Harper. She beat lung cancer in 2009 but then was later diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis in 2013.

There is no cure for the disease and doctors assured her six years ago she had at least a full three months to live. The family gritted its teeth and Harper fought the disease, good medical care and advances sustained her until now.

But the costs of surviving weren't cheap even for the Emmy winner. The medical expenses have virtually wiped out the family who had resorted to crowdfunding to help with the medical outlays.

Harper was satisfied with her life, noting in a recent interview “I’ve had a wonderful career. “I got to be an actress. I was a dancer. And then I grew into this area of acting and that was just so wonderful."

Valerie Harper was eighty years old and leaves her husband of thirty-two years Tony Cacciotti and their daughter Cristina.