What a roller coaster the past few years have been for Valerie Harper.
The legendary actress was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, and in 2013 she revealed that her cancer had spread to the brain, and she was given as little as three months to live. But she defied the odds, and shared some beautiful dances with Tristan MacManus on last fall’s Dancing With the Stars. Earlier in April 2014, Valerie, 74, revealed her latest scans were very positive and encouraging.
But now there’s this.
According to TMZ, Valerie is being sued by the playwright and producers of the Broadway play Looped; they claim she intentionally failed to tell them in 2012 that her cancer had returned. Valerie started forgetting her lines and slurred her speech during rehearsals, and playwright Matthew Lombardo said the director urged Valerie to see a doctor. When she saw a physician, they learned her lung cancer had spread to her brain.
Valerie had to pull out of the show for health reasons and that left the producers scrambling to find a replacement. Matthew said it cost him $500,000 and he asked for an additional $1.5 million to, as TMZ put it, “punish Harper for her heinous misdeeds.”
It’s a $2 million lawsuit, but it’s actually a response to Valerie’s own suit, claiming Matthew failed to pay her the remainder of her contact, despite her illness. So both sides are asking for money.
In happier news, Valerie is feeling good and proving she was meant to live a lot longer than just a few months after her “terminal” diagnosis. “The doctors can only say, ‘In my experience, this cancer kills people and it’s incurable,’” Valerie told Closer Magazine. Asked if she was in remission, Valerie said, “My doctor doesn’t use that term. He likes to say, ‘I give you a treatment, and it’s either responsive or nonresponsive — and you are having a phenomenal response.’”
Good to hear! Compared to terminal cancer, a fight over money seems pretty petty, but money does make the world go ‘round. Hopefully both sides can resolve this to their satisfaction, since neither Valerie nor the producers should be punished even more by cancer.