Actress Valerie Harper is reportedly joining the cast of Dancing With the Stars despite her cancer diagnosis.
Harper, 74, who won three Emmy Awards for her work as Rhoda Morganstern on the iconic Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s, recently announced that she has terminal brain cancer. In March, she was only given three months to live.
As we reported previously, other rumored contestants for the upcoming season 17 include Leah Remini, Snooki, Amber Riley, Christina Milian, John Stamos, Keyshawn Johnson, and Elizabeth Berkley. DWTS has yet to make an official cast announcement, however.
TMZ reports as far as Harper joining the Dancing With the Stars cast, “Doctors gave her roughly until June to live… but it’s already August, and we’ve learned she’s doing so well she is set to appear on the upcoming season of Dancing, an extremely physically-demanding reality show. We’re told Valerie and her partner Tristan have already been practicing for two days, and she’s surprisingly good. Our sources say she’s completely self-sufficient and doesn’t need any special assistance… at least so far.”
Harper has stayed active in the entertainment industry despite the grim diagnosis. Since announcing that she had inoperable cancer, Harper has appeared on an episode of The Simpsons and recently had a Mary Tyler Moore reunion on the show Hot In Cleveland.
She had previously battled lung cancer in 2009, even though she was a non-smoker. She was diagnosed after an unrelated X-ray, and struggled with the decision to keep her condition private. Harper has taken the diagnosis in stride, however, and has said, “I’m not dying until I do.” She also said she is choosing not to look at her diagnosis as a death sentence, and is instead keeping her mind “open to infinite possibility” and miracles. Harper also declared that she is going to “live each moment fully.”
Harper also won an Emmy for her spin-off sitcom Rhoda.