Real Fighter Valerie Harper On Her Brain Cancer And Caring Husband

Lifestyle & Health

Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe winner Valerie Harper is an incredible actress. One of her most significant roles is Rhoda Morgenstern in 1970s The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Valerie’s career started off with dancing, and she even performed on Broadway. During that time, her roommate introduced Valerie to her future husband Dick Schaal. They’ve been married for 14 years and got divorced in 1978. And in 1987, Harper married Tony Cacciotti, and now the couple has an adopted daughter.


Valerie always stated that she was lucky to marry such guy as Tony. He is a former personal trainer, and they’ve been together for 30 years, facing different life challenges and difficulties. But it didn’t stop them from caring about each other all this time. In 2013, Valerie was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis - it’s a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain.

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Doctors told Harper that she had only three months left because this was pretty serious. But the actress appeared to be a real fighter and she didn’t plan to give up. Plus, she had an amazing support from her husband who became an excellent caregiver for her.

My husband watches me very carefully. The support has been incredible. I married a great guy, and it's working well.

She also told once that her husband was a real nudge:

He does everything for me, drives me everywhere, makes sure I’m eating healthy, walking and lifting weights. Really, he’s the best nudge in the world.

She is also thankful to her doctors and has been trying relatively new drugs that keep on working, and she is responding well to the treatment.


Her husband is fond of her attitude and always keeps saying how proud he is of his beloved wife:

She's a fighter. I'm amazed every day what she can do, and now she wants to get back to work, which is very exciting.

The work he was talking about was a short movie My Mom and the Girl, which was written and directed by Susie Singer Carter. It’s inspired by the story of Susie’s mom who had Alzheimer’s, and Harper decided to take this role in order to draw more attention to this issue.

During filming, Valerie showed incredible stamina and energy. She is a tough one and despite the fact that doctors told her that she’ll be living no longer than 3 months, Harper is still here.

I’m still here, I still have cancer, but I’m okay and most of my days are good.


She made it possible with help of her loving husband, good doctors, and, of course, positive attitude.

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