Valerie Harper, better known as Rhoda Morgenstern, the only person to ever really pull off the head scarf look, has revealed that she's been diagnosed with a rare form of terminal brain cancer, and may have only three months to live.
The actress was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. Harper's doctor told People that one of the earliest symptoms of the disease is "a belt-like sensation" across the stomach, which Harper began experiencing last summer. Tests did not detect the cancer until January of this year. Harper has elected to undergo chemo therapy to slow the disease's progress.
She told the magazine because she's not focused on dying because "I think of being here now," which is classic Rhoda. Lots of joie de vivre.
As Rhoda Morgenstern, Harper co-starred in The Mary Tyler Moore Show for four seasons and her own spin-off, Rhoda, for five. In 2006, Entertainment Weekly ranked her #23 on its list of the Greatest Sidekicks Ever — two higher than Art Garfunkel.
She also inspired us all to become wackier, more flamboyant neighbors.