Valerie Harper, the iconic actress who played Rhoda Morgenstern on the Mary Tyler Moore Show has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and may have as little three months to live. Harper, 73, who also starred in the spinoff Rhoda, has leptomeningeal coarcinomatosis, a very rare conditon where cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain.
Harper says she was rehearsng in mid-January for her one woman show Looped when she felt a numbness in her jaw, like Novocaine. She was also forgetting lines that she had said a thousand times.
She went to the hospital but they couldn’t find anything at first, but further testing showed she had an incurable disease.
In 2009 Harper battled lung cancer, even though she had never smoked, and wrote about it in a recent memoir.
She says she is resolved to make the most of her final days.