Actress Valerie Harper, star of TV's 'Rhoda,' dies at 80
Valerie Harper, who gained fame in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and as star of the spinoff “Rhoda,” has died. She was 80.
Harper had returned to acting in 2017 after a series of health setbacks, her husband, Tony Cacciotti, said in an interview that year.
She was diagnosed in 2013 with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain, and was given just months to live. She disproved that prognosis.
“Two or three times, she was out of it, she wasn’t going to survive,” Cacciotti said.
Before a stage performance in 2015, she was rushed by helicopter from Maine to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, “where they saved her life,” he said. A pressure-relieving shunt was placed in her brain after another crisis.
Last month, USA Today reported that a GoFundMe had been set up to help Harper pay medical bills amid her cancer fight.