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Valerie Harper diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, has months to live

Get more: Celeb Lives
03/06/2013 by OnTheRedCarpet.com Staff

Valerie Harper, known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spin-off, "Rhoda," has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

People magazine reported Wednesday that the 73-year-old actress has as little as three months to live.

"I don't think of dying. I think of being here now," Harper told the magazine.

According to the entertainment magazine, tests showed that Harper has a rare condition called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. She received the diagnosis on Jan. 15.

Mary Tyler Moore reacts

Harper called her former co-star, Mary Tyler Moore, to tell her about her diagnosis before the news was made public.

"She said, 'What's up?'" Harper told People magazine. "I said, 'It's incurable cancer.' She said, 'Val, I'm so sorry.'"

Moore, 76, had undergone surgery in 2011 for a benign tumor near her own brain. She told People magazine she is "absolutely devastated" about Harper's diagnosis.

"Valerie has given so much joy, laughter and love to the world," Moore said. "I join her fans and send much love and positive thoughts to her and her family during this difficult time."

In a recently released memoir called, "I, Rhoda," Harper revealed that she battled lung cancer in 2009.

Harper is also known for her role in her own family sitcom, "Valerie," which debuted in 1986. Jason Bateman played her son. Harper left the show after two seasons and was replaced by Sandy Duncan. The series' name was later changed to "The Hogan Family." Harper also guest-starred on "Drop Dead Diva" in 2011 and 2012.

Last year, she also kept busy campaigning for the Survivor Mitzvah Project, which helps raise funds for survivors of the Nazi Holocaust who live in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

"They're doing what no one else is doing," Harper told OTRC.com's parent company, KABC Television, in April 2012. "There's no other organization like this and they are bringing desperately needed help directly and continuously to these folks." (Watch her interview, above)

She also spent time in 2012 campaigning for her stepson, Michael Cacciotti, the three-term mayor of South Pasadena, who ran for the California State Assembly but did not win. His father and the actress' husband, Tony Cacciotti, are also parents to an adult daughter, Cristina.

(Copyright ©2014 OnTheRedCarpet.com. All Rights Reserved.)
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