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Valerie Harper sued by Matthew Lombardo for not revealing she had cancer

Valerie Harper appearing on Fox television in April 2014.
Monica Schipper/ Getty images

Valerie Harper, famed actress, is being sued for $2 million by Matthew Lombardo, a Broadway playwright, for not informing him that she had cancer. She signed a contract to star in his play before she divulged the medical information. Lombardo asserts that Valerie Harper, as well as her husband Tony Cacciotti, did not inform him about her severe medical condition, according to the New York Daily News on Sunday.

Lombardo says that Harper and her husband hid the medical facts regarding Harper’s lung cancer until it spread to her brain. The medical condition forced Harper to leave Lombardo’s play. The play, “Looped,” was in the midst of a national tour last year.

According to Lombardo, Harper destroyed his production by not informing anyone that she was stricken with cancer and so very ill. As a result of her allegedly ruining his production, he wants Harper to pay $2 million. The lawsuit says that he is suing for $500,000 in addition to $1.5 million in punitive damages, says the New York Post.

The play “Looped” by Matthew Lombardo featured Valerie Harper as the headline performer. The play lasted only 27 previews and 25 performances at the Lyceum Theater in 2010. The lawsuit claims that Harper had many opportunities to disclose her medical condition as she was forgetting her lines at rehearsals for the show to go on the road. Even though the play was less than a stellar box-office hit, Lombardo and producers had plans of going on the road to tour with “Looped” – for which Harper was nominated for the prestigious Tony Award.

The show proceeded to a national tour, including performances in Hartford, Fort Lauderdale and Baltimore. Unfortunately, Harper became so ill several months ago while rehearsing for shows in Connecticut that she had to be removed from her role in the play. She was replaced by Stephanie Powers who most likely is best known for the television show “Hart to Hart.” Harper is best known for portraying Rhoda in on the iconic “Mary Tyler Moore Show” – in which the “Rhoda” show was an extremely successful spinoff of the Moore show.

Several weeks ago, there was an erroneous report circulating which said that Harper was cancer-free. The report was not true. Harper has since responded by saying that she is not cured. She says that she is still a cancer patient who continues to fight with the hope that a cure may be just around the corner.

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