The cast of the 17th season of Dancing With the Stars was just announced this morning, but former Mary Tyler Moore star Valerie Harper may already be the sentimental favorite. Even better news? The actress recently found out that her terminal brain cancer may be close to remission. She and her doctor talked to AARP The Magazine and her doctor explained, “I would say that Valerie is near a complete response to the treatment we’re giving her.”
Harper also discussed her desire to continue living her life to the fullest, and how for her, that included excitement about competing on Dancing With the Stars. “As long as you’re alive, you can do something.” She continued, “I wouldn’t give people advice, except to share with them what I’m doing. Which is: You’re alive, stay alive. Don’t start putting a foot in the grave or planning a funeral. You can plan it, but don’t start planning it as if it’s that day.”
But don’t expect a Harper win, alongside partner Tristan MacManus, to be a forgone conclusion. “People vote for whatever reason they want to, but what tends to happen toward the end, over the last couple of weeks, is that the best dancers tend to come out,” producer Conrad Green told EW. “If Valerie is a strong dancer, she’s got a strong chance of winning the show.”
Fans can catch Harper on Dancing With the Stars beginning Sept. 16, where she’ll be joined by other contestants including Bill Nye the Science Guy, Leah Remini, and Snooki.