Valerie Harper Looks Back: 'Gay' Scene Was Her Favorite

The actress best known for playing Rhoda on The Mary Tyler Moore Show said being one of the first people to talk about homosexuality on TV was her proudest professional moment.

BY Jase Peeples

March 11 2013 2:52 PM ET

Ever since Valerie Harper's announcement that her doctors gave her only three months to live because of terminal brain cancer, she's made several appearances sharing fond memories of her life and career.

The actress, who became an LGBT icon thanks to her unforgettable role as Rhoda on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, was recently on on The Doctors, where she revealed her favorite professional memory. Harper was the first person ever to mention the word "gay" on network television, in the now-legendary MTM episode “My Brother’s Keeper.”

"I loved doing that episode," Harper said during an interview with The Advocate in 2006. "Do you know, when I said that line 'He’s gay,' we got the biggest laugh ever on the show? I mean, this was the '70s, long before Will & Grace or Ellen; there really weren't gay characters on television back then. The ­audience laughed and cheered for over a minute. They had to take most of the audience response out for the broadcast cut. It was amazing. That was an extremely well-written episode — we were blessed with brilliant writing on that show."

Watch Harper talk about the historic moment in the clip below.

Tags: People

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