Valerie Harper Asks Judge to Dismiss Lombardo Lawsuit
Last week, BWW reported that beloved Broadway veteran Valerie Harper was facing a $2 million lawsuit from 'Looped' playwright Matthew Lombardo. The scribe claims that during rehearsals for the Broadway production, the actress began to slur her speech and forget her lines. When she went to the doctor, it was discovered that her lung cancer had spread to her brain. Lombardo claims that the inconvenience and behind-the-scenes drama of this withheld information cost him $500,000.
According to today's New York Post Page Six, the actress is now asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, maintaining Lombardo is "off base" and that he found out about her cancer at the same time that she did.
The Broadway play starring Harper in the lead role, ran for 27 previews and 25 performances at the Lyceum Theater in 2010. The 'Rhoda' star earned a Tony nomination for her role which prompted producers to plan a national tour featuring its star.
In an interview with ET last week, Lombardo gave an exclusive statement, saying that despite the $2 million lawsuit, he very much "adores" Valerie. "I have no animosity against Valerie. I adore her. I wish her the best always," he tells ET. "Unfortunately her husband decided to create this lawsuit as he did 20 years ago with her TV show Valerie and it's stirring up a lot of trouble. I am deeply devastated that Valerie would choose to be a part of this and spend her remaining time immersed in this negativity."
Harper was diagnosed a year ago with terminal brain cancer and was given just three months to live by her doctors. She went on to beat the odds, even appearing as a contestant on ABC's 'Dancing With the Stars.
She perhaps is best known to audiences for her role as the beloved Rhoda Morgenstern on the classic TV sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its subsequent spin-off, "Rhoda." The popularity of the show was enormous, and the episode of Rhoda's wedding set ratings records with 52 million viewers.
For playing Rhoda, Harper won a total of four Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Her extensive television career includes the self titled sitcom, "Valerie," and more recently guest roles on such hit shows as "Desperate Housewives," "Sex and the City," "That '70s Show," "Touched by an Angel" and "Hot in Cleveland." Notable film credits include "Blame It on Rio," "Freebie and the Bean," "Chapter Two" and "The Last Married Couple in America."
In 2010 Harper was seen on Broadway in "Looped" and received a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead. In January 2013, Harper published her memoir, I Rhoda.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski