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Valerie Harper talks to NBC's "Today" on Monday

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 
imagenbcActress Valerie Harper talks to anchor Savannah Guthrie on Monday’s “Today” on NBC.
 
The network provided excerpts of an interview Guthrie did with Harper in her Los Angeles home and scheduled to air March 11. 
 
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.
 
VALERIE HARPER:
It is incurable, it is very rare.
 
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:
Are you hopeful?
 
VALERIE HARPER:
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 wheelchair?” — 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.
 
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:
One of the things people love about you is that you are so joyous, are there moments when you feel sad?
 
VALERIE HARPER:
Oh my God yes, I don’t mean this to be Pollyanna, Savannah. I allow myself the grief.
 
secondnbcbvblogSAVANNAH GUTHRIE:
What are the things that are feeling and tasting sweeter?
 
VALERIE HARPER: 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:
 
VALERIE HARPER:
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.
 
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:
You’re not saying good-bye?
 
VALERIE HARPER:
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:
 
VALERIE HARPER:
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.

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