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Actress Valerie Harper, TV’s ‘Rhoda,’ Has Terminal Brain Cancer

Report Says Harper Has As Little As Three Months To Live
Valerie Harper (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment)

Valerie Harper (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Valerie Harper, who played Rhoda Morgenstern on television’s “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spinoff, “Rhoda,” has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

The 73-year-old actress received the news on Jan. 15, People magazine reported Wednesday. The report said she has as little as three months to live.

The Rockland County native told the magazine in a cover interview: “I don’t think of dying. I think of being here now.”

Just before receiving the diagnosis, Harper spoke about her new memoir, “I, Rhoda,” with OMG! Insider host Thea Andrews. Harper also discussed her positive outlook on life.

“I say thank you every day, Thea, I really do. Every day, I say thank you for something,” Harper told Andrews. “I find something every day because we should.”

The actress also reflected on the great luck and the trying times she’s faced over the course of her career.

Harper fought and beat lung cancer several years ago, and lost her mother to the disease.

Her memoir came out the week she was diagnosed with a rare condition known as Leptomeningeal Carcinoma.

Patient survival rates range from three to 12 months, according to experts.

Andrews said during her January interview with Harper, the actress did seem to have some memory loss and trouble remembering names and places. Harper even joked at one point, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, it’s like I have dementia.”

Harper said the diagnosis hit her like a sledgehammer, Andrews reported.

Harper’s character, Rhoda, was one of television’s most beloved sidekicks during the 1970s.

Before landing the iconic role as Rhoda, Harper got her start on Broadway in 1959 in the musical “Li’l Abner” and went on to perform in several Broadway shows including “Wildcat,” “Take Me Along” and “Subways Are For Sleeping.”

Harper was nominated for in 2010 for a Best Actress Tony Award for her portrayal of  Tallulah Bankhead in the Broadway comedy “Looped.” 

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)