Valerie Harper’s Advice to Everyone - Don’t Waste Time

Category: Television

Valerie Harper shot to fame as Rhoda in the 1970-1977 hit sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which led to the 1974-1978 spinoff series Rhoda. Since that time the actress has appeared in many films and TV movies, including the short-lived series Valerie (1986-1987). Most recently, Harper co-starred in the TV movie The Town That Came A-Courtin’ on the UP network.


Not too long ago Ms. Harper was diagnosed with terminal cancer however she is proving the medical profession wrong, to some degree. When she met with journalists to discuss the new TV movie, she jokingly said, “I was supposed to be dead by Easter [2013], and her it is [January] 2014. So I am pleased.” Ms. Harper looked healthy and was in great spirits as she spoke with journalists in the press conference and later at a cocktail reception and dinner. She was jovial and very, very happy.


“I’m doing quite well. I’m feeling good and I’m moving forward, it looks like. And, of course, it’s incurable and it’s terminal, but aren’t we all?” And she’s right. From the time we’re born we are all terminal.


She commented that people come up to her and tell her she is an inspiration. “What I’m doing is saying don’t be afraid of death. Live your life. Because if you are sitting in fear of death, you will miss the moment that is here right now.”


Ms. Harper is grateful this role came along because it proved to her that she could regain her acting career. “It was great to be back in the makeup trailer, and learning lines.” The difference between when she was doing TV movies in the 1970s and 1980s is apparent to the actress. This particular film was shot in twelve days, which was very quick for her, but when viewers watch this show, they will see her great spirit emerge in both the character and herself.


Harper attributes her positive attitude to her parents. “They were both great. And I’ve always thought that life is here to have fun and to meet people. And I’ve been always on the positive side of things. But this [cancer] really brings you up short, when you hear that you have a limited time, because then you don’t want to waste it. And that’s my message to everybody. Don’t waste the time, because you don’t know when you’re going to get either a diagnosis like this or some other challenge in life.”


Kids are always anxious to grow up and adults are looking back or ahead. People rarely rejoice in the moment, and that is what Valerie Harper suggests we all do. We never know what is going to happen next, so we should all live in the moment. That is exactly what she is doing. And she is showing all of us how to live.


About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet: The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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