People Mag: Valerie Harper, icon of 1970s TV, has terminal brain cancer

If you don’t know who Valerie Harper is, please just skip over this post! Valerie Harper was and is an icon of 1970s television (go here to see Harper’s IMDB), an Emmy-winning and groundbreaking television actress, beloved by so many women. Chances are, your mom loves her. I know for sure that my mother loves her, and my mom is going to be devastated with this news. People Magazine reports – in their cover story! – that Valerie is suffering from terminal brain cancer.

Valerie Harper is facing a devastating diagnosis: terminal brain cancer.

The television icon – beloved for her role as brash New Yorker Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Rhoda – received the news on Jan. 15, she reveals to PEOPLE in this week’s exclusive cover interview.

A battery of tests revealed she has leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. Her doctors say she has as little as three months left to live.

Resolved to face her last days with courage and humor, “I don’t think of dying,” says the actress, 73, who previously battled in 2009. “I think of being here now.”

For more from Valerie, including her thoughts upon receiving the crushing news, how she is spending her remaining time and her inspirational outlook, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

[From People]

That’s so sad. Mary Tyler Moore is going to be devastated! They’re still close, and I would imagine that there are many actors and actresses from that generation who will be paying their respects to Valerie in the coming weeks and months.

Just a “how the sausage is made” sidenote: I think it’s interesting that People Magazine put this on their cover, especially following last week’s eye-roll-inducing Jennifer Aniston cover. Harper must have offered them an exclusive and People – knowing that their core readership is old enough to remember and love ‘Rhoda’ – decided to make this the cover.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

84 Responses to “People Mag: Valerie Harper, icon of 1970s TV, has terminal brain cancer”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Happymom says:

    I loved Rhoda and the MTM show when I was a young girl! And in a weird, personal twist of fate: one of my mom’s dearest friends who always reminded me of Valerie Harper (voice, humor, looks) is also dying of cancer. So sad.

  2. marie says:

    Aww, this makes me sad. My mom loved Rhoda, I even remember watching it when I was younger. I remember her more from the show when Jason Bateman was a kid though. So, so sad.

  3. Dawn says:

    Oh this is sad news. I watched both her shows (MTM & Rhoda) as a kid. Loved them both.

  4. Nona says:

    I remember her and I absolutely love her. She was so sassy on that show! Wishing her a peaceful journey.

  5. Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

    Rhoda, no :(

  6. brin says:

    That is shocking and so sad. I adored her as Rhoda. She seems like a wonderful person, too. Thoughts and prayers to Valerie and her family.

  7. poppy says:

    hope she has had/has minimal suffering.
    not only did she work the funny, she had a feminist streak a mile wide for the time. both rhoda and mtm show were all about ladies living the way they wanted to and not how they were supposed to.
    i don’t like those “goodbye” headlines. feels sort of jumping the gun.

  8. Alexandra Bananarama says:

    I was all about her on tv land. This is so sad. I hope she has nothing, but wonderful days left in her life with family and friends.

  9. Cece says:

    Brave soul. May her journey on be a peaceful one.

  10. Itsa Reallyme says:

    I remember her from the show where she had 3 sons (Jason Bateman was one of them). I loved her. I’m sorry to hear about the dreaded C word. God bless her.

  11. Nicolette says:

    My God, I am ever so sorry to hear this. I watched Mary Tyler Moore when I was little and I loved that show. Mary, Valerie and Cloris Leachman were so great together. Classic show with very talented people.

    She provided me with many laughs growing up. God Bless her and her family in this most difficult time.

  12. Poink517 says:

    Aww I love her:(. This is really sad.

  13. JustaGirl says:

    aww…that’s sad. I’m too young for their original run, but I watched both shows on Nick at Nite and other classic tv channels growing up. My mom was a big fan. (Nowadays, it’s the shows of my youth on Nick at Nite. :/) Since it seems inevitable, I hope she has as peaceful of a passing as she can. :( Cancer really sucks.

  14. truthful says:

    I watch the reruns on cable, I always loved her spunky character.

    beautiful soul

  15. eileen says:

    Oh MAN! Not Rhoda! I loved that show when I was a kid. :( She was also on Broadway and Lil’Abner.
    I pray for a painless crossover, Valerie.

  16. Ellie66 says:

    What a brave lady. I loved her all through my life there were so many shows she was on. What a lovely talented woman. God Bless her

  17. aims says:

    I hate cancer. My heart goes out to her and her family. Too many people have been touched by this cruel illness.

    • JanMa says:

      I am so sad about this and so in awe of her outlook and her strength: “I think of being here now”. I wish we could defeat this disease which seems so random and arbitrary, like being struck by an arrow out of nowhere. I can’t make sense of the suffering it causes to so many good people and their families and friends. I wish her peace and happiness.

  18. JudyK says:

    Such sad, sad news. I love her, too. She’s a real and genuine person–hard to find in the entertainment industry in this day.

    When I was in my 20s, there was nothing I enjoyed more than watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show…loved Rhoda.

  19. The Original Mia says:

    Oh, no. Such sad news. Loved her.

  20. elceibeno08 says:

    Poor lady. My heart goes out to her. My dad died of stomach cancer, so I know how Valerie and her family must be feeling. So sad.

  21. Jayna says:

    She survived lung cancer. It must have come back. Conce it metastasizes to the brain it is only a matter of months. It’s a hard ending with it in the brain fir loved ones to witness. Godspeed. Great lady.

  22. jaye says:

    So sad. Rhoda was one of my favorite shows when I was growing up.

  23. Cathy says:

    That’s to bad. I’m old enough to remember her on both MTM and her own show. She was both funny and graceful. Bless you Valerie

  24. Bored suburbanhousewife says:

    So sorry about this. Love her. She was also a great guest star on SATC playing Justin Theroux’s funky liberal loads of fun mom. Justin turned out to be a dud,, but Carrie couldn’t bear to “break up” with his cool Mom Valerie.

  25. sophie says:

    My husband’s cancer spread to his brain and he was told less than 3 months – he lived 19 days. Very rough way to go. Feel sorry for her.

  26. lucy2 says:

    I remember her 80s sitcoms more, always liked her as an actress.
    What sad news. I hope she is able to enjoy the rest of her days and does not have any pain.

  27. logan says:

    Prayers to a classy lady. Gentle and peaceful trip home Valerie.

  28. candigirl says:

    So sad she was a great character in The MTM show.

  29. Relli says:

    Rhoda was my very first hero. Her MTM inspired a nerdy little girl who never quite fit in what friendship an success were all about. Her appearNce on SATC was awesome and she is just an amazing woman. I pray for her in these last days.

  30. RN says:

    I am so sorry to read this. I was very influenced by her character on The MTM Show and Rhoda when I was a young girl. She brought so much life and personality to her character.

  31. Troubadour says:

    Very sorry to hear this. She always struck me as such a good person.

  32. RHONYC says:

    such grace under devastating news!

    loved, loved, LOVED Rhoda as a kid!
    she taught me alot about being spunky & witty.

    remember when she played Carrie’s boyfriend’s (limpd*ck Vaughn) mom on SATC? so great!

    i wish you a painless & peaceful journey Ms. Harper. :cry:

  33. palermo says:

    She always made me laugh. This is terrible news, makes me sad.

  34. goodquestion says:

    Terrible news. The character of Rhoda was groundbreaking for women in television, as was her friendship with Mary Richards. Damn.

  35. Blannie says:

    I LOVED Valerie on The MTM show and Rhoda. I felt a kinship to her because she always battled her weight (like me).

    I’m so sad to hear this news about her. I wish her a peaceful and painless journey.

  36. Jayna says:

    My mother had brain cancer that had crossed over into the lining of the brain like Valerie has. It is devastating. They can’t go into that part once it crosses with procedures. My mother was like a stroke victim. She by the last month couldn’t figure out how to use her hands to help us lift her. It was heartbreaking. My anger went from anger at my mom dying iof cancer to such anger and jealousy of my cousin and a friend having mothers dying who they could still have time with communicating and talking and sharing. My mother’s personality drastically changed from the brain tumors and then total deterioration. No huge Hallmark moments of mother/daughter talks possible. But she was the bravest woman I know and fought so hard just to stay alive because she wanted to take care of my ill father and not leave him. I remember her now as the vibrant woman she was my whole life, but it took time for those memories to supersede my stage 4 cancer-stricken, very ill mother.

    Hope is everything when there is a diagnosis of cancer. Once they take away hope, the sadness is so overwhelming.

  37. Aqua says:

    Boy they sure don’t make shows like Rhoda and MTM anymore.As a kid I found it fascinating that their were such a thing as a single successful career women.It was something that hadn’t occurred to me. Everyone my parents and I knew were married.Shows like them were groundbreaking at the time.Knowing her she’ll probably be feisty till the very end.

  38. Lucy94 says:

    First Ann Romano and now Rhoda???? My heart is breaking. Can we please go back to 1979?

  39. PortlandJan says:

    I’m so sorry to read this. When the MTM show first came on, I identified more with Rhoda than Mary. Besides proving that there is life without matrimony, she was just more FUN.
    Good luck to you, Valerie. You will be missed.

  40. DaphneS says:

    Such sad news. I loved Rhoda so much both on “Mary Tyler Moore” and “Rhoda”.

    On MTM, Rhoda was always wanting an apartment in the house, but I adored her little room in the attic. As a teenager, I thought that was the coolest thing ever!

    Prayers for you, Ms. Harper.

  41. CM says:

    Terrible news! Love the ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’. God Bless.

  42. skuddles says:

    Bravo Valerie for having the courage to face her final days with a positive attitude! I truly admire people who can reach inside and find that kind of strength. One of my relatives is dying of pancreatic/lung cancer right now and he’s allowed anger and fear to choke out every bit of happiness in his world. It’s gotten pretty difficult to be around him now…

  43. Kelly says:

    I love her and the show, even though I did not watch when originally aired. She should have ended up with Joe on the show!

  44. Bella says:


  45. Mrs. Darcy says:

    I actually met her once and she was hands down the nicest celebrity ever (and I met a few living in NYC) She went out of her way to compliment me and tell me I was pretty and wished me luck with my acting career. I was just stunned at how kind she was when there was nothing at all in it for her. This is absolutely tragic news, what a sad time for her family. My thoughts are with them.

  46. Lucretia says:

    I loved her! She was self-deprecating and funny on MTM, and at the same time so beautiful.

  47. Timber says:

    Prayers to a beautiful, classy snd funny woman.

  48. Claudia says:

    Aw :( When I was a little kid I remember watching Rhoda and Mary Tyler Moore on TV land. I loved her sass and spirit, and it was one of the first shows I saw that centered around a strong female protagonist.

    I love you Valerie Harper, you made an impression on my life.

  49. pwal says:

    Valerie Harper has been on my mind for a while, mainly because of how Charlie Sheen got over huge on the 2 and a 1/2 Men producers, while Valerie seemingly got completely hosed on her show.

    Like some have mentioned, I identified with Rhoda more than Mary, although I loved them both. I vaguely remember watching TMTMS in the 70s (was a little kid), but I watched it on Nick at Nite during college and sometimes catch it on MeTV.

    Wishing her peace and the minimum of pain for her and her family.

  50. Alecia says:

    I almost cried at work when I saw this. I grew up watching reruns of MTM and Rhoda and always had the sense that Valerie Harper put so much of herself in the role. My thoughts and prayers are definitely with her family.

  51. Lucy94 says:

    So many great shows we will never see the likes of again. Back when people actually had talent and not just a fat ass and nasal voice. For those too young, I feel sorry for you. The best Saturday nights of my life…Newhart, MTM, Carol Burnett. May God grant you peace, Valerie.

  52. Suze says:

    I love and admire Valerie Harper and am so sad about this – what a talent.

    I hope she finds her path as easy as is possible. It is very sad news.

  53. Lisa says:

    I’m actually really sad about this, as if it were a member of my own family going through it! She tweeted about going for tests as early as January and February, so does that mean she knew then? That’s taking us closer to three months. :(

  54. CF98 says:

    This is probably one of the few posts that doesn’t have anything mean/snarky to say. I’m pleasantly surpised…

    Shows what kind of person she was to have everyone think of her this well.

    And I never saw her on MTM but I did see her on Valerie and SATC

    She was also Michael’s mom on Melrose Place.

    It sucks may she go with as little pain as possible.

  55. cotton glove says:

    Wonderful paintings! This is the type of info that should be shared around the web. Disgrace on Google for no longer positioning this publish higher! Come on over and discuss with my site . Thanks =)

  56. Sugar says:

    this makes me so sad a a little girl of the 70′a the MTM show was my fav. I wanted to be like Mary Richards & live in a cool little apartment in a big house & when Rhoda was introduced into the show she brought another level of the cool single chick with the lovable but overbearing ma! I can hear Rhoda “heyMare”…Valerie Harper I’m sending love & hugs. My fav aunt full of life & love was taken from us with the same diagnosis & this breaks my heart.