Rumors are everywhere that “Rhoda” star Valerie Harper will be dancing in the upcoming Season 17 of “Dancing With the Stars,” despite the fact that she’s 74 and has terminal brain cancer. But now, according to Parade magazine on Aug. 29, she may be getting a miracle. Doctors are saying she’s very close to a remission of that cancer.
Harper was diagnosed in March of this year and originally given three to five months to live. That feisty Rhoda Morganstern attitude was still there, though, and she refused to go quietly into that good night. ”I don’t think of dying,” Harper told People magazine at the time of the announcement. “I think of being here now.”
Treatment has been chemotherapy and acupuncture. And then a surprise came from her doctor. “I’d say that we’re getting pretty close to a remission. It defies the odds,” Harper’s doctor, neuro-oncologist Jeremy Rudnick, said on the Today show Thursday. “The problem is, any time, this can change. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”
Still, Valerie Harper is a realist and knows well that a remission is not a cure. “It’s not curable, there’s no question. It has to be managed,” Harper said. But she and her husband, Tony Cacciotti, are delighted with the extra time.
“Going from having three months to live or less, we’re into our sixth month. And now there’s even hope beyond that,” Cacciotti said. “I never planned on this. This is overwhelming.”
Rumor has it that Valerie Harper has been paired with hunky Irish dance pro Tristan MacManus. And she’s not starting from scratch either. She started her career as a ballerina. She also danced in Broadway musicals.
So when Season 17 of “Dancing With the Stars” begins on Monday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. eastern on ABC, there's a good chance you will see one very brave and agile senior citizen with something to really smile about on the arm of Tristan MacManus.
Don’t miss a step!