Entertainment

Valerie Harper, 'Rhoda' actress, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Valerie Harper has made a lasting impression as Rhoda on TV's "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." She won four Emmys for the role, one of them from when she starred in her own "Rhoda" spin-off.

The 73-year-old Harper is now coping with a difficult time in her life. She told People magazine she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer on Jan. 15.

"I don't think of dying," she said in the interview. "I think of being here now."

Harper, who visited the Eyewitness Newsroom last year, says medical tests reveal she has leptomeningeal carinomatosis, a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. The People report says her doctors have said she has as little as three months to live.

"There are moments, of course, where she feels extremely sad. She's also an extremely funny person. She's very, very happy that she's had the life that she's had," said J.D. Heyman.

Harper and Moore reunited for a TV movie in 2000. As she told Eyewitness News last year, that time in her life would be a big part of her now-released autobiography, "I, Rhoda."

"I'm certainly going to touch on sad moments, tough moments and that but mainly, it's going to be focused on that -- the Rhoda/Mary years that were so wonderful and I have so many stories about them that haven't been heard," she said.

Now, as Harper takes on this tough challenge, she does so with grace.

"Life is amazing," she told People. "Live it to the fullest. Stay as long as you can."

Moore says she joins Harper's fans in sending love and positive thoughts to the actress and her family. Harper called Moore before the news became public.

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celebrity, cancer, entertainment, george pennacchio
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