Rhoda Morgenstern never met a disagreement or a challenge she wasn’t willing to fight or at least mouth off to. Luckily for Valerie Harper, she still has a little bit of that beloved character inside of her. Three years after battling lung cancer, the actress has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and while her chances of making any kind of recovery are remote, she’s spending her energy enjoying the now.
The seventy-three-year-old actress shared the sad news with People earlier this week. Apparently, the specific diagnosis is leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which means there is cancer inside the fluid-filled membrane that encases the outside of the brain, and she could have as little as three months left to live. The condition is extremely rare, but given Harper’s personality, that makes sense. She’s definitely not the type of woman who would succumb to anything ordinary.
Harper rose to fame in the early 1970s after a television scout saw her in a play and asked her to audition for The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was able to secure the part of Rhoda and by the end of the decade, she won four Emmy Awards for her work on the aforementioned show and the spin-off she received in 1974. In the years since, she has kept busy with guest roles on television shows, a starring role in Valerie and work on the board of directors of SAG.
Pop Blend’s sincerest well-wishes go out to Harper. By all accounts, she’s an extremely generous and kind-hearted lady. Here’s to hoping she goes out on her terms without any regrets.
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Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.