CELEBRITY
03/12/2013 10:37 am ET

Valerie Harper On Cancer: 'We're All Terminal'

Valerie Harper's recent announcement that she has an incurable form of brain cancer prompted a barrage of celebrity condolences, and today the actress appeared on "Good Morning America" to provide an update on her condition.

The '70s sitcom star, best known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spin-off series "Rhoda," is currently fighting off bronchitis in addition to her cancer, but she was all smiles throughout her "GMA" appearance.

"We're all terminal, we really are," the 73-year-old actress said. "And we have a lot of fear around death."

Harper is undergoing chemotherapy, but she says she only has to take two pills every day: one in the morning and one at night.

Even though she is now at Cedar-Sinai Medical Hospital in Los Angeles, Harper says she's still doing book readings and going to see movies with her husband.

"I feel great," she said. "I feel so much better than I did in December."

Harper learned of her diagnosis on Jan. 15 following a series of tests. She previously battled lung cancer in 2009, something she discusses in her 2013 memoir "I, Rhoda."

"The book ends with me saying, 'I'm cancer free,' and this insidiuous disesase, four years later, snuck back," she said on "GMA."

But despite her reason to worry, Harper has maintained her signature positivity.

"Don't go to the funeral until the day of the funeral. Live this day," the Emmy-winning actress said.

Harper's upbeat spirit is in keeping with the praise her fellow comedy stars have heaped on her.

Mary Tyler Moore said she the actress "has given so much joy, laughter and love to the world," while Cloris Leachman said, "She’s one smart lady and I know she will handle her illness as she has handled everything else in her life -- with intelligence, optimism and grace.”

Harper has been making the talk-show rounds lately, discussing her illness on programs like the "Today" show and "The Doctors."

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