Valerie Harper, best known for her performance as Rhoda on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, has just revealed to the public on March 6 that she has been diagnosed with a form of terminal brain cancer. The 73 year old Emmy Award Winner was diagnosed on January 15, 2013. Harper was told by doctors that her cancer is inoperable and she may only have about 3 months to live. However, she has an optimistic outlook and claims to only think about living, not dying.
Harper decided to take a visit to the hospital at the urging of her co-workers on the tour of “Looped”. She started forgetting lines to the play that she had performed many times. Eventually, her speech became slurred as well. The cast of the show noticed these strange symptoms and decided that something must be wrong. A few days later, Valerie Harper was given an MRI examination by doctors. It showed that she had leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a very rare and fatal condition in which cancer cells spread to the brain by entering the fluid in the membranes around it.
This is not Harper’s first battle with cancer. In 2009, the non-smoker was diagnosed with lung cancer. Doctors actually believe that the fluid in her brain might be a side effect from her treatment four years ago.
Most people in Harper’s position would be bitter, questioning why they have been so unjustly punished. Harper, however, remains content. The actress has released statements saying that although she will undergo chemo therapy, she feels that her time has come and gone. Harper wants to use her illness as an outlet for others suffering. By publicizing her struggle, she hopes to bring more attention to the disease and eventually contribute more funding for research.
Harper began her early career as a dancer on Broadway. She met many influential actresses and choreographers, and eventually began getting some roles as extras in television shows and movies. While on stage, Harper was spotted by a casting agent. This agent asked her to audition for the part that would change Harper’s life forever.
Valerie Harper came to fame on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. She was instantly a fan favorite because of her comedic interactions with Mary Tyler Moore. From the show, she gained her own spin-off called “Rhoda” which ran on CBS from 1974-1978. Harper has also made guest appearances on well-known shows such as “Melrose Place”, “The Office” and many others. She has even published her memoir entitled “I, Rhoda”.
Today, Harper is stopping work to devote time to family and friends. Her main focus is to enjoy what time she has left while educating others. Harper claims that she only wants to think about the present.