In the wake of Valerie Harper’s terrifying collapse at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine on July 29, Closer Weekly goes inside the beloved TV actress’ brave battle with cancer.
“Every five minutes, every hour, every day, every year that you waste worrying about your cancer — you have forfeited time that you could have been alive having fun,” Valerie, 75, told Closer in May.
When Valerie, who played Mary's spunky sidekick, Rhoda, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, was diagnosed in 2013 with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, she was told she had three months to live. But through treatment, support from her friends and family and positivity, she is still performing onstage, where she is happiest.
Valerie on Rhoda in December 1978.
“I worked with Valerie... She has such a positive spirit. She felt lucky to be working, and she passed on her wonderment of the magic of show business,” Ted Lange, who remembers her guest-starring on The Love Boat, tells Closer.
Valerie has put on a brave face and kept a positive attitude through it all. After being diagnosed with the terminal disease, she has told Closer she started saying yes to lunch with girlfriends more often and “treasured each moment with my husband — although we still fight!”
Valerie and her husband, Tony Cacciotti, in January 2014.
The show in Ogunquit this summer was another way to seize the day. “I want to live,” she said, “and as long as I’m here, every single moment is going to be as good as I can have it be.”
She’s now recovering and resting after being hospitalized, sharing with fans, “As always, thank you for your amazing support... As anyone who has taken strong medication knows, it doesn’t always agree with you, even with me as this experience proves. I am confronting these hurdles with my usual enthusiasm and love of life.”
Pick up this week’s issue of Closer Weekly for more details on how Valerie's beat the odds and outlived her doctors’ diagnoses!