Valerie Harper Opened Up About Her 'Great, Long' Life in Final ET Interview (Exclusive)

By Jennifer Drysdale‍
Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Valerie Harper lived her life to the fullest. 

The beloved actress died on Friday, her daughter, Cristina, confirmed to ET. The news came six years after she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2013; she beat lung cancer in 2009. In April 2014, she told ET that her cancer had not spread to other parts of her body, although, Harper pointed out that she had not been "cured."

Two years later, ET sat down with Harper as she balanced her cancer battle with an impressive career. During our last interview with her in 2016 to promote her role in the short film My Mom and the Girl, Harper opened up about her "great, long" life. 

"You wake up and go, 'Oh! I'm here, another day to live!'" Harper shared. "I've had a great long [life], and great stuff's happened to me and my darling husband."

Harper's partner of three decades, Tony Cacciotti, was with her when she collapsed while doing a summer stock play in Maine. She was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital.

"Somebody said, 'You have the lung cancer,' and then that went away surgically and now, 'You have this other thing that usually happens years before lung cancer and it's in the lining of the brain,'" she told ET in 2016. "There's 200 different kinds of cancer, so I'm just going my way."

In July, Harper’s husband revealed that he decided not to place her in hospice care, despite doctors' advice. “I have been told by doctors to put Val in hospice care and I can’t [because of our 40 years of shared commitment to each other] and I won’t because of the amazing good deeds she has graced us with while she’s been here on earth,” Cacciotti wrote on Facebook. "We will continue going forward as long as the powers above allow us, I will do my very best in making Val as comfortable as possible."

In a tweet on Friday afternoon, Harper's daughter, Cristina, wrote: "My dad has asked me to pass on this message: 'My beautiful caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06am, after years of fighting cancer. She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, mia Valeria. -Anthony.'" 

After My Mom and the Girl, Harper continued to act, but in voice roles. She most recently voiced a character in American Dad! this year. 

See more on Harper in the video below. 

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Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.