Valerie Harper Sued for Concealing Cancer, Forgetting Lines in Broadway Show “Looped”

By: Galen Velonis - April 27, 2014

Valerie Harper has been sued for concealing her cancer diagnosis to an employer. The lawsuit could cost her 2 million dollars, but it hasn’t stopped the 74 year old actress from losing hope or working.

Harper has gone through a roller coaster of hope and despair after her diagnosis of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis last year. She joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars and did her best to continue working. Just last week, it was announced that she was “getting pretty close to a remission”. Despite the good news, Harper was having trouble remembering lines, a problem that has brought forth a lawsuit.

TMZ reported that the producers and playwright of the Broadway show Looped have filed suit against the actress. They allege that Harper deliberately concealed the cancer diagnosis in order to be hired. When she had to leave the show prematurely, the playwright, Matthew Lombardo, was left scrambling to find a suitable replacement, a situation which he says cost him 500,000 dollars. Lombardo is also asking for an additional 1.5 million dollars, bringing the entire suit to 2 million dollars. Harper also has a lawsuit against the producers and Lombardo, claiming that she was not paid her full contact when she left the show.

The lawsuit does not seem to be a detractor for the Hallmark Channel, who recently signed Harper on for their new show Signed, Sealed, Delivered. The LA Times reported that Valerie Harper will play the supervisor of a group of civil servants dedicated to delivering lost mail. Producer and writer Martha Williamson said “Valerie is somebody who would take a challenge like this and turn it into an opportunity to encourage other people. The first thing she and Tony said to me when I told them about the show was we want to use this show as an opportunity to encourage other people.”

The actress’s Twitter account is filled with information and buzz about the new series, just like it was for Looped five years ago. It will remain to be seen if the actress makes any statement about the lawsuit, or if any other employers come forward with suits of their own.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

About the Author

Galen VelonisGalen Velonis is a writer, actor, and director. He lives in Lexington, KY with his pet budgie, Spike. Follow him on twitter: @GalenVelonis.

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  • Patty

    Being sued because you kept your cancer a secret! What next needs to be disclosed, if your marriage is in trouble, trying to have children……?

  • Michelle Eavey

    under the Hipaa medical protection act, She doesn’t have to disclose a damn thing, He’ll lose the case, I’m sure he just wanted some publicity for his show. I cannot believe a lawyer would even take this case.

    • Jerrilynn Fleming Willis

      And because he has taken on this litigious stance, nobody will EVER see ANYTHING this jackhole writes.

  • Jerrilynn Fleming Willis

    Wow. How totally low can “producers” and “writers” go? How low can LAWYERS dive? This is how low….. to sue someone because they got cancer. Are you mother effing serious?

  • Carl Mastromarino

    Let’s face it, no matter how much you posters here feel sorry for Valerie, she should have told her employers about the cancer before they hired her, because it did affect her employment. Oh well, first copping an attitude on her hit TV show Valerie, getting fired from that, and years later, this. Rhoda needs to stop being so feisty!

    • meatwad_SSuppet

      Oh yes, ignore the Americans with disabilities act and other laws designed to protect people that can’t get work if they announce some personal information. Get lost you wannabe slave owner.

      • Carolyn

        All they need to do is use the ” understudy ” !

    • Carolyn

      It was known around the world, about her cancer, but they could have asked her if it had re-occured, and if she LIED, then they would have grounds to sue her, but I think she did not have to reveal any information. All they had to do was use the ” understudy ” ! Geesh ! Are they trying to kill her ? Stress is not good for a person, especially one who has cancer ! They couldn’t PAY ME to see their play ! Maybe this is a way to get publicity, and get people to come see the play . . . any publicity is better than NONE ! So they say !

  • document finesse

    Way to kick someone when they’re down, greedy producers. Ms. Harper is certainly not the first actor to hide a medical condition to keep working. Hollywood demands it. Let on that you’re ill and you can forget about working. As for forgetting lines, I’m sure this happens every day in this business. Whatever happened to cue cards?

    • Carolyn

      What happened to the ” understudy ” ? At least Valerie is still trying to work , so she can pay her medical bills and take care of her home !

  • orangesunshyne

    I won’t waste my time seeing Looped.

    • Carolyn

      Perhaps it should be called DUPED !

  • karen

    Wow nothing like kicking some one when they are down. Matthew I hope you get the karma you deserve.!!!

    • Carolyn

      AMEN !

  • Carolyn

    Surely they are aware that cancer can re-occur ! Perhaps they should have asked her if it had recurred, then if she LIED about it , then they would have grounds to sue her. It may have been the stress of doing the play that caused the cancer to come back.