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Valerie Harper talks 'DWTS,' living with cancer

Valerie Harper talks 'Dancing With The Stars' elimination, cancer

10/08/2013 by OnTheRedCarpet.com Staff

In March, Valerie Harper announced that she she had been diagnosed with a rare condition called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain.

She initially received the diagnosis on Jan. 15, and at the time, doctors believed she had as little as three months to live.

Cut to the "Dancing With The Stars" season 17 premiere on Sept. 16 and Harper took the dance floor with pro partner Tristan MacManus to try her best with their Foxtrot routine.

Harper received a standing ovation from the audience that night for her resilience and positive spirit, which inspired the crowd to its feet.

After four weeks in the competition, the 74-year-old actress, who is known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda," was sent home on Oct. 7.

However, when Harper talked to George Pennacchio of KABC Television, OTRC.com's parent company, shortly after her elimination, she was nothing but grateful for her time on the show and said that it was "fair" she was sent home.

Video from that interview, as well as past interviews with Harper, can be seen above.

"It's great to be here. This is big time. This is really a lovely, wonderful, joyous celebration of a show," Harper said. "It was fair, George. You saw the level of the dancing. If we're judging dancing, then we have to. It just can't be popularity -- Oh I loved her as 'Rhoda' or poor thing has cancer, you know? You don't want that, do you? I don't."

She added, "Everybody would be out there grumbling, 'She did it 'cause of the cancer. Maybe I should do that? Call my press agent!'"

Even though he was the teacher, MacManus said he learned from Harper this season.

"What Valerie has definitely done is reinforce perspective and I think that's something that's very easily lost in all senses," he said.

"I like to think that I'm quite level-headed and that I have my priorities in order, but it's nice to see someone who's been through -- who has gone through something completely different that we can't comprehend and still maintain perspective," MacManus added. "Whether it's the show or not. The show is just an opportunity to get to talk to the masses and stuff and do a great job in the mean time."

Harper said she felt love from America since announcing her diagnosis and taking the "Dancing With The Stars" stage.

"I do feel the love," Harper said. "I feel tremendous love from America since I announced the condition in -- when was that? March! And I'm still here. So what have I got to be complaining about?"

Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, which produces the nationally syndicated entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).

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