In her first television interview since revealing her cancer diagnosis, beloved television actress Valerie Harper sat down with Savannah Guthrie in her Los Angeles home. The candid and compelling interview airs tomorrow, Monday, March 11 on NBC’s “Today.”
Harper revealed last week that she is suffering from an incurable form of brain cancer. She was diagnosed less than two months ago during her book tour for I, Rhoda A Memoir, where she writes – among other things – about the nine years she spent playing the role of Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. During the “Today” show interview, Guthrie also spoke with Harper’s husband, Tony Cacciotti.
It is incurable, it is very rare.
Are you hopeful?
More than hopeful, I have an intention to live each moment fully. Like right now, all there is is Savannah and Val.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:When do you think the reality of it, hit you?
VALERIE HARPER: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.
One of the things people love about you is that you are so joyous, are there moments when you feel sad?
Oh my God yes, I don’t mean this to be Pollyanna Savannah, I allow myself the grief.
What are the things that are feeling and tasting sweeter?
My husband’s face. He’s a gorgeous man. I always knew that which is part of the reason I fell in love with him but he’s just so – wonderful.
Harper on coming forward about her diagnosis:
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.
You’re not saying good-bye?
Oh no… What I’m saying is keep your consciousness, your thoughts open to infinite possibility and keep yourself open to miracles.
On the public’s response to news of her diagnosis:
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.
Credit: NBC’s “Today” with air date, Monday, March 11.
Follow @tvfishbowl for your Television, Movie, Celebrity, Pop Culture, and Gossip scoop— TVFishBowl (@TVFishBowl) April 9, 2013