Producers Want Millions from Actress Who Got Cancer During Rehearsals

The playwright and producers of a Broadway show are demanding $2 million from former lead actress Valerie Harper, claiming she hurt the play when a brain cancer diagnosis forced her to drop out.

Although the Mary Tyler Moore Show actress first contracted lung cancer in 2009, she continued to work, eventually landing the role of Tallulah Bankhead in Matthew Lombardo's Broadway show, "Looped." Harper received rave reviews for her portrayal of the troubled actress, playing the role for nearly three years.

But that all changed in late 2012 when Harper apparently began slurring her words and forgetting lines during rehearsals. It grew so noticeable that the director eventually demanded she seek medical attention.

She was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a fatal brain cancer, and was given only months to live.

According to the lawsuit, Harper dropped out of the play the same month and sought treatment.

After she left, the production refused to pay out the rest of her contract, prompting Harper to sue. Now, Lombardo and the show's producers are suing back, alleging Harper hid her brain cancer diagnosis from the production. They're demanding $500,000 that they say it took to hire a new actress, plus an additional $1.5 million in punitive damages.

Harper—who famously won a multi-million dollar verdict against Lorimar Telepictures in the 1980's—recently clarified that she's still battling the cancer but has had a "great response to a certain drug."

[image via AP]