Valerie Harper in 'Today' interview: 'I'm not dying until I do' (Video)
Valerie Harper opened up in an interview with the "Today" show about her cancer diagnosis and her outlook on life since finding out about the terminal condition.
The 73-year-old was diagnosed with 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 and revealed the news earlier this month. She was told she has as little as three months to live.
Harper's interview, which can be seen below, aired on Monday, March 11, and she detailed her family's reaction to the news as well as how she coped with her diagnosis.
Harper told co-host Savannah Guthrie the reality of her diagnosis happened when "I heard the word incurable. Incurable is a tough word. So was terminal."
When asked if she was hopeful, Harper said, "Oh sure. Sure. More than hopeful, Savannah, I have an intention to live each moment fully. Like right now, all there is is Savannah and Val for me, that's what's going on."
"I'm not dying until I do," she said. "I promise I won't."
Harper also said that although she has a positive outlook, she does have moments where she feels sad.
"Oh, I don't mean this to be Pollyanna," she told Guthrie. "I allow myself the grief."
"Life is life and we wouldn't have it without death," she added.
The actress became emotional several times throughout the interview, especially when talking about her daughter Cristina and husband Tony Cacciotti. Harper and Caciotti have been married since 1987.
When asked what aspects of her life seem sweeter now, Harper replied, "My husband's face. He's a gorgeous guy. I always knew that. It was part of falling in love with him. He's so wonderful."
It was her first TV interview since disclosing her diagnosis last week. Harper is scheduled to appear on Monday's edition of the syndicated talk show "The Doctors."
Harper rose to fame playing Rhoda Morgenstern on TV's "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda." She won four Emmys in the role. She also recently released a memoir called "I, Rhoda."
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.
Watch Harper's "Today" show interview below.