Show Business: Victorious Loser

Before Actress Valerie Harper got the part of Rhoda Morgenstern—Mary Tyler Moore's scatty Bronx Jewish neighbor—her agent warned her that she was really not right for the role. Neither Jewish nor a native New Yorker, Valerie had little in common with Rhoda except the soft, lumpy look of a girl with a weakness for cheesecake, cookies, cupcakes and brownies. At rehearsals, Valerie got few laughs in the role.

But when they brought in the audience and set the cameras rolling, something clicked. "Why am I eating this piece of candy? I ought to just...

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