As the news that the 73-year-old Harper has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer broke on Wednesday, messages of admiration and support began to roll in for the former "Rhoda" star.
Mary Tyler Moore, Harper's on-screen BFF in the iconic show "Mary Tyler Moore" and close friend in real life, publicly responded with a statement published at People.
"I'm absolutely devastated by this news," Moore said of her '70s sitcom co-star. "Valerie has given so much joy, laughter and love to the world. I join her fans and send much love and positive thoughts to her and her family during this difficult time."
Moore, 76, found out about the diagnosis when Harper confided in her during a phone conversation on Tuesday. Harper recounted the call. "After small talk, She said, 'What's up?' I said, 'It's incurable cancer.' She said, 'Val, I'm so sorry.'"
Some of the funny lady's other former co-stars weighed in as well.
Ed Asner, who worked with Harper on "Mary Tyler Moore," offered a quip that would have met with approval from his character Lou Grant. "Valerie Harper is a century plan," Asner told "Entertainment Tonight." "And I have come to know her much better in my latter years and have every confidence in the world that she will shock the hell out of us and survive to keep functioning as the great talent and human that she is."
Other "MTM" actors, Betty White and Cloris Leachman, also offered messages.
"Here I go wheezing on at 91 years old and this beautiful, beautiful lady is facing something far too soon," White told "ET." "We all love her so much, and we are going to make the most of every second we can."
Cloris Leachman wrote on Twitter that, "My longtime friendship w/ @ValerieHarper has been 1 of the gr8est gifts of my life. I'm here 4 any/everything she may need one day at a time."
A lot of the younger generation became fans of Harper in the mid-'80s, when she played the mother of a teenage Jason Bateman on the sitcom "Valerie." Bateman's response to Harper's illness was particularly kind.
"Valerie is someone that I've learned a great deal from. Not just comedically, but also in her ability to put whomever approached her, or worked with her, completely at ease with a laugh, and an energy that's intoxicating," Bateman said in a statement to "ET." "My thoughts and love go out to her and her family."
Roma Downey, who worked with Harper on the CBS drama "Touched by an Angel," shared a few kind words too. "We're going to keep her in our prayers, I love Valerie, I love working with her, she is a beautiful, wonderful, generous hearted women," Downey said during an interview with "Extra." "I send out all my love to Valerie."
Chad Allen, who went on to have roles in "Our House" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," spoke exclusively with omg! about Harper, who acted opposite him in the two-person stage show "Looped" in 2008. Harper later scored a Tony nomination for playing Tallulah Bankhead in the play when she took it to Broadway in 2010.
"There are few women I've been on stage with as magical as Valerie Harper," Allen told omg!. "The astounding dedication she brings to a role pales in comparison to the extraordinary spirit she brings into the room each day. None of us can know what tomorrow will bring but I hope that today Valerie knows of the powerful work she has done in this life and the lives she has touched in the process. The miraculous power of love she has given away so freely is being bounced back at her right now and I hope she is feeling it just as powerfully."
Here are a few more of the many well wishes that other celebs sent to Harper via Twitter.
Marlee Matlin: "An example of grace, humor and strength, @valerieharper is a hero to me. Sending love, light and prayers."
Melissa Gilbert: "May the angels watch over Valerie Harper. She is an amazing woman with great heart and courage. My prayers go to her and her family."
Nia Vardalos: "Valerie Harper, please know you will always be every awkward girl's mentor. Love, Toula"
Larry King: "I've known Valerie Harper for years- enjoyed intv'ing her & being in her company-wishing her strength & good thoughts"
Marie Osmond: "It's just like @valerieharper to go forward with grace and appreciation. My prayers are with you, Valerie."
Rachel Dratch: "@ValerieHarper You were the ultimate comedy role model to me when I was growing up - the quintessential "best friend!" Sending you love…"
Hoda Kotb: "@ValerieHarper I adore you xoxo we all do and are praying for you"
Andy Cohen: "Praying for Valerie Harper. Puts everything in perspective quickly."
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