Actress Valerie Harper seems to be using at least some of the time she has left to educate people about cancer. Harper, who announced that she has terminal brain cancer last week, is appearing on "Today" on Monday, March 11, 2013, according to a March 10 press release from NBC Television Network.
Harper, who starred in the 1970s series "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and its spinoff "Rhoda," was featured on the cover of the March 8 cover of People Magazine. The actress, who may have as little as three months to live, discussed her diagnosis and prognosis in the magazine interview.
Harper is also appearing on the CBS medical series The Doctors on Monday to talk about her life and disease.
Valerie Harper, 73, was interviewed by Savannah Guthrie for the interview being aired on "Today" on March 11. The actress was diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer in January. In the interview, Harper shares stories of her life and how she and her husband of 26 years, Tony Cacciotti, are handling the news. NBC has shared excerpts from the interview.
At the time of her diagnosis, Harper was in the process of promoting her book, I, Rhoda A Memoir. Harper wrote, among other things, about playing the role of Rhoda Morganstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda.
When Guthrie asked when the reality of her situation hit her, Harper replied, "When I heard incurable. Incurable is a tough word... A lot of people were calling - "can I come by the house?" - "are you in a wheel chair?" - because they hear it as this death sentence. Which it may be. But I'm not dying until I do. I promise I won't."
Harper talked about coming forward about her diagnosis, saying, "But I also feel so much better not hiding. And-- and that's not to say that celebrities or anyone shouldn't stay private. Do you what you feel. But I'm saying it feels awful damn good to be open about it, face it "and see what you can do. If you die, you're not a failure. You're just somebody who had cancer. And that's the outcome.
Harper told Guthrie that she is not saying good-bye, stating, Oh no... What I'm saying is keep your consciousness, your thoughts open to infinite possibility and keep yourself open to miracles."
When asked about the public's response to news of her diagnosis, Harper said, "It has been so warming and so comforting and... I feel the embrace. And I wanna tell them right back that I-- that you're a part of the reason I did it. So you could hear the real deal from me."
Valerie Harper played Rhoda Morgenstern, Mary's enthusiastic but imperfect friend, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff Rhoda in the 1970s. The shows were groundbreaking because they showed the struggles and successes of single working women during an era when gender roles were changing.