Playwright Matthew Lombardo and producers of a Broadway show have sued actress Valerie Harper for $2 million, claiming that "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" star, who is suffering from cancer, did not tell anyone that her terminal illness had returned, TMZ reported Sunday.
The Broadway production of “Looped” claimed that the 74-year-old performer intentionally kept everyone in the dark that her lung cancer, which was detected in 2009, had spread to her brain. The illness was revealed after she began forgetting her lines during rehearsals in 2012, necessitating a search for a last-minute replacement. Lombardo reportedly claimed in the lawsuit that the inconvenience cost him $500,000, and also demanded an additional $1.5 million.
“I am still not cured. I am a cancer patient, and I continue to fight with the hope that a cure may be just around the corner,” Harper reportedly said, earlier this month, clarifying reports that stated she was cancer-free.
According to TMZ, Lombardo’s lawsuit came in response to one filed by Harper, in which she claimed that Lombardo had failed to pay the remainder of her contract fees despite being aware of her illness. The lawsuit against Harper claims that the actress did not give the plaintiffs sufficient time to find a replacement.
Harper announced in March 2013 that she had been diagnosed with brain cancer and had just months to live, while the suit claimed that she had had plenty of chances to disclose her illness before. Following her brain cancer diagnosis, Harper participated on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 17.
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Harper played the role of actress Tallulah Bankhead in the period drama, “Looped,” which is set in 1965, before being replaced by Stefanie Powers, who played the fiancé of Bankhead’s son in “Die! Die! My Darling!” the film that inspired the events of the play.
“It is with deep sadness and regret that I will be unable to honor my commitment to the tour of Looped,” Harper reportedly said in statement, at the time. “This play has been such a gift and it was my hope and intention to play this role again in the upcoming tour. But given my doctor's recent recommendations, I must now put all my energy into getting well and renewing my strength.”