Actress Valerie Harper, star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda, has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, it was announced today.
Harper, 73, was diagnosed with the rare condition leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which can occur
when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. The condition occurs in less than five percent of people with cancer. Harper's doctors say that the acclaimed actress may have as little as three months to live.
The Emmy-winning star rose to fame playing the best friend to Mary Richards, the brash Rhoda Morgenstern, in the phenomenally popular series The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The role proved so popular that she went on to play the character in her own spin-off series, Rhoda, which ran from 1974 until 1978. She would go on to win four Emmy Awards for her portrayal as well as a Golden Globe award.
In the mid-1980s, she made headlines when she was axed from the NBC sitcom Valerie, after reportedly making a demand to have her salary raised. She was unceremoniously fired and character actress Sandy Duncan was brought in as a replacement and the show was re-named The Hogan Family. Harper later sued NBC and Lorimar Productions for her dismissal and was eventually awarded a significant sum of money in damages.
The actress had previously battled lung cancer in 2009. It is believed her current cancer is related to her earlier health struggle. Harper's bestselling memoir, I, Rhoda , which details her career struggles and successes, was published earlier this year.