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Michael Stewart

TODAY   |  March 06, 2013

Valerie Harper reveals terminal cancer struggle

The actress has is opening up about her battle with terminal brain cancer, telling People magazine she’s undergoing chemotherapy because, “I have a fighting chance until I’m gone.” NBC’s Diana Alvear reports.

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>>> sad news for a beloved sitcom legend. in an exclusive interview with "people" magazine, valerie harper reveals she's battling terminal brain cancer . here is diana alvear.

>> i was born in the bronx.

>> reporter: valerie harper needed no introduction. her star turned as " rhoda ," legionen of fans as a snappy single female with a very unique sense of fashion. her independence endeared her to millions. and those are the very qualities the 73-year-old actress is relying on in the face of devastating news. last august, harper noticed changes in her health. according to "people" magazine, tests revealed she had an incurable form of brain cancer . one very rare with few options for treatment. it's called leptomeningeal carcinamatosis. harper tells people she has opted for chemotherapy because i have a fighting chance till i'm gone. america first met harper in the ma" mary tyler moore show ," when she was cast as mary's upstairs neighbor and best friend, rhoda morganstern. she was so popular, she earned four emmys and her own spin-off. she titled her memoir "i. rhoda ," defying traditions by living with her boyfriend. when she decided to tie the knot it became the stuff of tv legend.

>> it was a huge deal. parties all across the country to watch the wedding. there were over 52 million viewers.

>> reporter: harper herself has been happily married for 26 years, to tony catchiotti with whom she has a daughter. she beat lung cancer in 2009 . harper tells "people" she doesn't expect that to happen this time. i'm well past my expiration date alrea already. still she has no time for self pity. i've had a good run, she says. what more could i ask for? she's busy making plans for days ahead. life is amazing, she says. stay as long as you can. for "today," diana alvear, nbc news, los angeles .