( AP )- David Groh, the handsome, hardworking character actor who was best known to television viewers as the easygoing man Rhoda Morgenstern married and divorced during the run of Valerie Harper's hit 1970s sitcom "Rhoda," has died. He was 68.
Groh died Tuesday of kidney cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his sister-in-law Catherine Mullally told The Associated Press on Thursday. Groh's wife, Kristin Andersen, was by his side.
Divorce was not a subject generally addressed on television in the 1970s, and when Groh's character, Joe Gerard, and Harper's Rhoda Morgenstern split up during the show's third season, viewers were stunned. Their marriage had resulted in one of the show's highest-rated episodes, and when they split people sent them condolence cards.
The show had begun in 1974 as a spinoff from television's hugely popular "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," which was set in Minneapolis. "Rhoda" had Harper's character moving back home to New York City, where she met and married Joe.
Groh's stunning good looks and real-life good nature were key to helping him win the part of her TV husband, Harper said Thursday.
"We looked all over and he finally came on the scene," Harper told the AP. "I read every cute guy of a certain age in Hollywood and he was the one. ... I enjoyed very much working with him. He was a lovely, lovely guy."
Groh, who left the series after the divorce episodes, went on to appear in dozens of TV shows and films, as well as on Broadway, over the next 30 years.
He portrayed the nefarious D.L. Brock on the daytime soap opera " General Hospital" from 1983 to 1985 and had recurring roles on "Baywatch," "Law