Valerie Harper was laid to rest one week after she passed away following a long battle with cancer. The four-time Emmy Award winner, best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on the 1970s sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda, died last week at age 80, as previously shared by The Inquisitr.
On Saturday afternoon, the late star’s family and friends honored her in an emotional gathering at the famous Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, People reports.
Attendees at Harper’s funeral were Mary Tyler Moore Show co-creator and executive producer James L. Brooks, actor Elliott Gould (who co-starred with Harper in the 1990 TV movie Stolen: One Husband), and actress Frances Fisher, who previously tweeted that she and Harper became “fast friends” during the SAG-AFTRA strike in 2000.
Harper’s friends Connie Stevens and Joely Fisher were also in attendance at the “intimate” ceremony, according to Entertainment Tonight. During the gathering, Fisher read a letter from actress Diane Ladd, who unable to attend the service.
In addition, Harper’s longtime friend, actress Sally Kirkland, took to Twitter to reveal that she was also in attendance at the funeral.
“Just spent the afternoon celebrating the life of #ValerieHarper with her family & close friends. She was… A fighter ’til the end. A lover of people. An inspiring activist. A brilliant actress. A true friend. We will never forget you!” Kirkland wrote.
An insider told ET that at the request of the late actress, the service was meant to be a celebration and all attendees were told to wear color and no black clothing. Guests were also asked to bring a yellow rose to lay on Harper’s casket.
People notes that during the service, Harper’s daughter, Cristina Cacciotti, shared powerful stories of her mother’s brave cancer fight that began a decade ago.
“I don’t have balls, I have steel ovaries,” Cacciotti quoted her mother saying.
Harper was laid to rest near the near graves of late actor Mickey Rooney, who passed away 2014, and Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, who died in 2017.
Valerie Harper Laid to Rest in L.A. as Daughter Gives Speech During Funeral https://t.co/9ei4QtDCyV
— People (@people) September 7, 2019
Harper had many celebrity friends. Although many of her Mary Tyler Moore Show co-stars – including Moore, Ted Knight, and Georgia Engel — passed away before her, her surviving co-stars released statements following her death.
Mary Tyler Moore Show star Edward Asner remembered Harper as a beautiful actress and friend.
A beautiful woman, a wonderful actress, a great friend and with balls bigger than mine. Her brilliance burst through and shined its light upon all of us. Goodnight beautiful. I’ll see you soon. pic.twitter.com/FicADkSAzS
— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) August 30, 2019
Fellow Mary Tyler Moore Show costar Gavin MacLeod also issued a statement after Harper’s death.
“My life has been so enriched by having the experience of working with Valerie and calling her a friend,” MacLeod told The Associated Press.
“In 1970, when a group of actors, producers, and writers gathered together to read the Mary Tyler Moore show pilot. Val although she was unknown at that time, we all realized a talented, gifted actress had appeared.”
At the time of her second cancer diagnosis in 2013, Harper was told she only had a few months to live. She beat all odds, in part due to her positive attitude. Fans may recall that Valerie Harper vowed to live her life to the fullest and even signed on to Dancing with the Stars shortly after being given a terminal cancer diagnosis.
“Don’t go to the funeral until the day of the funeral,” Harper once said.
Valerie Harper is survived by her daughter, Cristina, and husband Tony Cacciotti.