The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Tyler Moore Star Valerie Harper Reveals Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

Valerie Harper has just months left to live. The actress, who is perhaps best known for playing Rhoda on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has revealed to People magazine she was diagnosed last month with a rare type of terminal brain cancer.

“I was stunned,” she says of receiving the devastating news in mid January. “And in the next minute I thought, ‘This could draw more attention to cancer research.’ I think there’s an opportunity to help people.”

Harper, 73, is suffering from leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, or cancer in the fluid-filled membrane that surrounds the brain. “This is a really complicated condition. The spinal fluid is a collection of fluid that’s being circulated [through the brain] kind of like a sink. The fluid itself is growing cancer cells so they are multiplying in there. Those cells start to coat the brain,” explains Harper’s neuro-oncologist, Dr. Jeremy Rudnick.

The condition is very difficult to treat and doctors estimate Harper has as little as 3 months left to live. She is undergoing chemotherapy to slow down the disease. “I don’t think of dying,” Harper tells People. “I think of being here now.”

According to Dr. Rudnick, early symptoms of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis include blurry vision, severe headaches, seizures and “a belt-like sensation” in the lower torso. Harper, who battled lung cancer in 2009, experienced that sensation last August, but tests yielded no clues to her condition. She was diagnosed on January 15 when numbness in her jaw lead to a spinal tap.

Harper appeared in 90 episodes of Mary Tyler Moore from 1970 to 1979 and starred on the spinoff Rhoda from 1974 to 1978. She later starred on one season of Valerie, which was later known as The Hogan Family. Harper starred in numerous TV movies and made appearances on TV shows like Touched by an Angel, Melrose Place, Sex and the City, That 70s Show, Less Than Perfect, Desperate Housewives, Drop Dead Diva, and most recently The Simpsons.


Hallmark Channel Salutes Betty White on Her 90th Birthday

Betty Marion White was born on Jan. 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, which means that the lady who starred as the adorably ditzy Rose on the iconic TV comedy “The Golden Girls” turns 90 years old. And yet White still seems to be everyplace. She’s starring in a new comedy series (“Hot in Cleveland”), popping up on the Emmy® Awards, and is in general busier than actresses half her age — heck, even a quarter her age. Father Time simply doesn’t seem to affect the lady like it does the rest of us. With that in mind, Hallmark Channel salutes the world’s most beloved nonagenarian with a Golden Girls Marathon the day before birthday number 90. It begins on Monday, January 16 at 3 p.m. and runs for 11 consecutive hours, featuring 14 episodes that represent Rose’s Greatest Hits from the series that originally ran on NBC from 1985-92. The Rose-A-Thon kicks off with “Rose the Prude” (1985), which finds our favorite wacky dame reluctantly going on a blind date with Blanche (Rue McClanahan) only to have it blossom into a serious relationship. That’s followed at 3:30 by ”A Little Romance” (also from ’85), wherein Rose starts having second thoughts about marrying Dr. Newman since he’s a little person. Rose later battles age discrimination (4 p.m.); fends off a lesbian advance (4:30 p.m.); fears for her mortality (5:30); is forced to care for her late uncle’s pig (6:30); faces down stage fright while giving a eulogy at her aunt’s funeral (7 p.m.); deals with the intellectual friends of her college professor boyfriend, Miles (7:30 p.m.); crashes a high school reunion (9 p.m.); and undergoes triple-bypass heart surgery (9:30). What’s particularly amazing about Betty, besides her phenomenal endurance and vigor, is the fact that she’s appeared so effortless in switching character gears over the years. Consider that long before “The Golden Girls,” she’d starred as a completely different personality on the classic sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Let’s face it: This is Betty White’s world. The rest of us just look on in reverence and awe.