>One of my fave actresses, Valerie Harper, was nominated today for a Tony Award as Best Actress In A Play for her leading role in the short-lived Broadway play “Looped!” She said, “I started on Broadway in the chorus of ‘Li’l Abner’ in 1958. I’ve never entertained the thought (about getting a Tony Award nomination) but boy, is this lovely.”Other noms went to Viola Davis for “Fences,” Laura Linney in “Time Stands Still,” Jan Maxwell in “The Royal Family” and the marvelous Linda Lavin in “Collected Stories.” The Tony Awards will be given out Sunday, June 13 on CBS.Above, Lavin guests on “Rhoda” in 1974.
>I just can’t get enough of Valerie Harper these days. Last week she was on “Good Morning America,” hawking her new Broadway play, “Looped,” at the Lyceum Theatre. Ironically, Ayhan, who had never heard of “Rhoda” until a month ago when I started yakking about watching reruns on Tivo, along with her co-starring role in the Neil Simon flick “Chapter Two” and whatever other appearance Tivo laps up (“That 70s Show”)… and he ended up bartending the opening night show.
Guess who’s digging on Valerie now? Ayhan reports that the show is wickedly decadent, as Harper conjures Tallulah Bankhead, drinking, cursing and smoking. My kind of gal! She appears in this month’s Out magazine, handing out naughty quotes and loving on the gays. All the more my kind of lady.
>It’s been a gratifying week, with a flurry of freelance coming my way, at last, in addition to working 30 hours for the U.S. Census and making progress on the proposal for my memoir with Liz Derringer.
But when I needed to give my fingers—and feet—a rest, I’ve had a blast watching reruns of “Rhoda,” starring Valerie Harper, which is now airing on “baby-boomer” cable network ALN. The spin-off of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” ran from 1974-1978. Along with 50 million others, I remember watching the classic episode where Rhoda has to take the New York subway to her own wedding in the Bronx. What a blast seeing the scenes shot on the Upper West Side, and in the subway, in 1974 NYC. Graffiti everywhere!
That episode became one of the highest-rated events in 1970s television, at the time ranking second only behind the birth of Little Ricky on “I Love Lucy.” Harper won an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1975…
Season pass is now going strong on Tivo—which also picked up her performance in the Neil Simon movie “Chapter Two,” starring James Caan and an Oscar-nominated Marsha Mason, where a slimmed-down, no-NYC-accented Harper played her best friend.
And how ironic… Valerie Harper began previews last week on Broadway, here in New York, with the lead role in “Looped,” a biopic of Tallulah Bankhead. I’s gonna have to see that one.