LOS ANGELES - David Groh, an actor best known for his role on the 1970s television sitcom "Rhoda" as the title character's husband, died of kidney cancer Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his family announced. He was 68.
Mr. Groh became an instant celebrity in 1974, when he starred as the easygoing Joe Gerard opposite Valerie Harper's neurotic Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" spinoff. But by the third season, the couple divorced, and he was off the show.
Mr. Groh's stunning good looks and real-life good nature were key to helping him win the part of her TV husband, Harper said yesterday.
"We looked all over and he finally came on the scene," Harper said. "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."
Divorce was not a subject generally addressed on television in the 1970s. When the characters split, 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.
Mr. Groh later had recurring roles in such prime-time series as "Melrose Place," and "Law and Order" and on daytime television as D.L. Brock on "General Hospital."
A New York City native, Mr. Groh was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University. He attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art on a Fulbright scholarship.
After a stint in the US Army, he studied at the Actor's Studio and appeared in productions "so far off Broadway my parents would take subways and buses and taxis to try to find me," he said.
After he left "Rhoda" in 1977, Mr. Groh appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon's "Chapter Two" and in "Twilight of the Golds" in 1993.
He also had film roles in "Two Minute Warning" (1976) and "A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich" (1978), among others.
He leaves his wife, actress Kristin Andersen; a son, Spencer, from a previous marriage; his mother, Mildred; and a sister, Marilyn Mamann.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this obituary.