Television | Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper Says Her Favorite Moment as a TV Actress Was an Historic 'Gay' One: VIDEO


Valerie Harper, who last week announced that she has terminal brain cancer, is set to appear in her first television interview since the announcement, on an episode of The Doctors airing tomorrow, March 11.

During the interview, Valerie shares a poignant moment with her former cast mate from The Mary Tyler Moore Show Cloris Leachman, regarding her favorite moment working on the show together, and it was when the show made history as one of the first series to use the word "gay" on television.


Clip is Courtesy of CBS Television Distribution / Stage 29 Productions, LLC.

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  1. class act!

    Posted by: disgusted american | Mar 10, 2013 5:11:40 PM

  2. my queen!

    Posted by: aneas taint | Mar 10, 2013 5:13:50 PM

  3. And the gay brother was played by Robert Moore -- who was gay in real life. A director as well as an actor his most famous directorial credit was the original stage production of

    (wait for it)

    "The Boys in the Band."

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Mar 10, 2013 5:27:24 PM

  4. Love and Thanks to Valerie. And incidentally, thank god for you Ehrenstein.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 10, 2013 5:39:07 PM

  5. I was 10 or so when I saw that "MTM," with Moore and Harper's lovely work, and I remember two things about it: It made my parents uncomfortable and it made me think, probably for the first time, that being gay might not be as horrible and lonely as virtually every other image out there suggested it was.

    Posted by: chris | Mar 10, 2013 6:18:41 PM

  6. I fondly remember that episode...the casual "he's gay!" from Rhoda to Phyllis. No big drama or controversy. And this in the early 1970's. Amazing. Yes, Valerie Harper is a class act.

    Posted by: Terry | Mar 10, 2013 7:53:44 PM

  7. If anyone's interested in watching the episode she's referring to, it's called "My Brother's Keeper" and it is on Hulu:

    Posted by: Marco | Mar 10, 2013 7:56:22 PM

  8. Valerie is beautiful inside and out.

    Posted by: palto | Mar 10, 2013 8:15:03 PM

  9. Cloris Leachman is still alive! She was everywhere in the seventies and then disappeared.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 10, 2013 9:21:06 PM

  10. Anon - Cloris never left . . . she's always popping up.

    Just looking her up in my database of things I've seen (I'm a geek) - "Tale of the Allergist's Wife" and "Death Defying Acts."

    And yet, I don't seem to have cataloged a show that Valerie toured in with Anthony Zerbe - "Dear Liar". It came to my college and I worked as a stagehand. I helped Valerie offstage and she grabbed my beard - "oh I like men with beards."

    And during the Q&A the next day she, or Anthony, referred to me by name. It was very exciting. And a really long time ago.

    Posted by: Alan | Mar 10, 2013 9:43:31 PM

  11. Seriously. According to imdb, 1998 is the only year since Mary Tyler Moore that Cloris *didn't* appear in something. She's been on 'Raising Hope' since 2010.

    Posted by: antisaint | Mar 10, 2013 10:00:10 PM

  12. If anybody deserves a miracle cure is this woman.

    Posted by: jaragon | Mar 10, 2013 10:01:00 PM

  13. Isn't there "something" they can do to fight her cancer?

    Posted by: grego | Mar 10, 2013 11:08:02 PM

  14. @Chris: my experience exactly

    Posted by: Myackie | Mar 10, 2013 11:30:53 PM

  15. Marco, thank you for posting the link to that episode of the MTM Show. I just watched it and it was delightful!

    Posted by: Neil | Mar 11, 2013 12:09:58 AM

  16. What I love: Valerie tells the whole story. And even when it comes to where Cloris could have said her lines, she lets Valerie tell the tale. A friend lets a friend shine.

    Posted by: AZEXPAT | Mar 11, 2013 12:49:13 AM

  17. Stop hiding from reality and start living a
    life with love and happiness, w w w . h i v g a y . c o m are waiting to meet you today!

    Posted by: mitt | Mar 11, 2013 1:25:14 AM

  18. I remember watching that particular episode of MTM with some friends when it first aired. It was as hilarious as Ms. Harper described. We all howled with laughter. I was still struggling with coming out but that moment, hearing "he's gay" uttered so nonchalantly by Rhoda and then Phyllis saying "Thank God! I'm so relieved!" really was something positive and almost revolutionary. Such a simple thing but it changed my life.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Mar 11, 2013 3:54:42 AM

  19. well--an even funnier moment was when the whole cast were all dressed up to go to a formal affair of some kind, and Ted and Georgette both wore tuxedoes. After everybody gushed about how cute they looked, Georgette said, "Well, I don't care what anybody says: I think we look like a gay wedding cake."

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Mar 11, 2013 7:26:46 AM

  20. From this side of the pond, MTM was a joy of a show. We had been drowning in an ocean of sexist and homophobic dross for ages, when MTM arrived I was hooked - made me laugh, I loved the characters and I well remember the 'gay' brother episode; I laughed until I cried. Lovely to see Ms Harper and Ms Leachman in such great form. From this side of the pond, I wish them both well with my grateful thanks for many an evening laughing in front of the TV.

    Posted by: sam | Mar 11, 2013 10:09:27 AM

  21. I just watched the episode and my guess is that the brother latched onto Rhoda to try to get her to like classical music and to make sure his sister wouldn't be around. The "he's gay" line was very well handled indeed.

    I guess what happened to Cloris is that she went from A-List to B-list, and the talk shows and guest appearance heavy shows (like Love Boat and Fantasy Island) that relied on B-Listers fell by the wayside. If you're not familiar with how many times she was on Carson or Merv Griffin, or a variety of game shows, then you don't know what I mean.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 11, 2013 10:27:42 AM

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