NEW YORK — Valerie Harper, who played Rhoda Morgenstern on television's "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda," has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
People magazine reported on its website Wednesday that the 73-year-old actress received the news on Jan. 15. Tests revealed she has leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. The report says Harper's doctors have said she has as little as three months to live.
"I don't think of dying," Harper told the magazine in a cover interview. "I think of being here now."
Harper's character, Rhoda, was one of television's most beloved characters during the 1970s, and the tart-tongued, self-deprecating Rhoda made Harper a star. She won three consecutive Emmys (1971-73) as supporting actress on "Mary" plus another for outstanding lead actress for "Rhoda," which ran from 1974-78.
Harper began show business as a dancer in several Broadway musicals, and worked in summer stock and with the Second City improv group.