Mary Murphy Opens Up About Her Battle With Thyroid Cancer and Missing Season 7
We may have missed out on Mary Murphy’s high-pitched screams and tickets to The Hot Tamale Train on So You Think You Can Dance Season 7, but she was certainly doing her part as a judge from her couch at home.
In an interview with Inside TV, Mary expressed how difficult it was for her to be away from the show. “I was sitting at home yelling at the TV,” she said. “I didn’t realize it would be as hard for me.” She didn’t always agree with the judges’ decisions and wanted so badly to be able to scream through the television screen into Nigel’s ear.
Mary struggled with the decision to take time off from SYTYCD. Her original intentions were to be a part of Season 7 from beginning to end, but her health was heading downhill. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and simultaneously dealing with several personal tragedies. Taking a season off seamed like the best option for her to heal physically and emotionally.
“Everything happens for a reason, and looking back, as much as I hated not being on the show, it was definitely a time in my life where I needed to be off.”
Mary tried to ignore how serious her diagnosis was, but the tumor in her throat was getting larger and pushing against her vocal cords. She was in danger of losing the very thing that makes Mary Murphy who she is: her voice. “I thought, well, if I got cancer, I could fight that, but if you lose your voice, there’s nothing that you can do about it. [Laughs] [People know me by] my voice and my laugh.”
Left with no choice but surgery, The Hot Tamale Train went under the knife on December 15.
When asked about her current health, Mary replied, “Right now, I’m doing really well. In February, after the radioactive isotope treatment, I am cancer-free. I was back on the roller coaster again, going back uphill again and doing the [SYTYCD] auditions.”
She’s excited to be back where she belongs, next to Nigel, shrieking into his ear. “Me and Nigel, we’re like an old married couple by now," she said with a light-hearted laugh. Her return was an emotional high for her as everyone was so thrilled to have her back. “It was so heartwarming and overwhelming, the support for me. It meant the world to me.”
Now, Mary is ready to put the big “C” word behind her and focus on what this season of SYTYCD is serving up. There is an overwhelming pool of talent pouring out of Atlanta, Salt Lake City, L.A., NYC, and San Francisco, leading to possibly the best Vegas week ever. She’s bowled over by the dancers this year.
“I had this new heightened level of connection. The entire judging panel has a serious connection with this Top 20. I’ve never seen it any other year. The transformation with those kids in the four days in Las Vegas was mind-blowing ... We were all bawling by the end of the four days, those kids and the judges too. Even Nigel had a tear in his eye.”
Sadly, one face that won’t be returning this season is Alex Wong, who was sent home too soon last year when he torn his Achilles Tendon. We were hopeful to see this powerhouse as a Season 8 All-Star, but he wasn’t medically cleared to participate on the show. Mary is equally disappointed that Alex will not be an All Star: “I have seen him during this year and he is in training and doing very well … I think people will always be interested in what is going on with Alex Wong and we’re definitely going to follow up on him.”
However, Alex is in L.A. for the summer, so we are still hoping for at least a cameo appearance.