A playwright is suing brain cancer-stricken Valerie Harper, claiming the beloved “Rhoda” actress ruined his production - by not telling anyone she was deathly ill. Matthew Lombardo wants Harper to fork up $2 million - $500,000 in addition to $1.5 in punitive damages, according to a lawsuit cited by TMZ.
Harper announced last March that she had been diagnosed with brain cancer and had just months to live. But she went to compete in ‘Dancing with the Stars’ past fall. While America cheered her fight for life, Lombardo said Harper was wrong for keeping her cancer to herself up until March 2013.
Harper had plenty of chances to disclose her ailment because she was forgetting her lines at rehearsals for the “Looped” road show in 2012, the suit claims. Despite that poor box-office showing, Harper picked up a Tony Award nomination, but while rehearsing for the Connecticut shows in January 2013, Harper fell ill and had to be scratched from the cast.
The plaintiffs are suing over the inconvenience and behind-the-scenes drama that Harper allegedly caused by keeping quiet about cancer, according to Lombardo’s lawsuit. Earlier, Harper had explained that a reporter misunderstood her statement, that a full body scan had shown that her cancer which started in the actress’ lungs and spread to her brain had not spread any further. “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 said.
Amount Matthew Lombard wants in punitive damages