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In Going Public, Valerie Harper Is in Good Company
Posted By Patrick Kiger On March 11, 2013 @ 4:08 pm In Bulletin Today | Comments Disabled
Actress Valerie Harper’s March 11 appearance on the Today show  to discuss her diagnosis of terminal brain cancer  made her the latest celebrity to go on television to talk about a personal life-and-death health challenge.
There was a time the famous tended to keep quiet about serious illnesses behind a protective cocoon of press agents, limousines with tinted windows and mansion walls. Often fans found out about their conditions through terse press releases asking for privacy, or though hints picked up by the supermarket tabloids.
After actor Gary Cooper was stricken with cancer in 1960, for example, the first public inkling didn’t come until the following spring, when Jimmy Stewart accepted an honorary award for him at the Oscars and nearly broke into tears on national TV. Even after Cooper’s family was inundated by inquiries, a spokesman only was willing to say that “he is gravely ill.”  Cooper died about a month later.
John Wayne bravely shattered precedent. After keeping his lung cancer secret because, he later explained, his PR people “all thought it would destroy my image,” Wayne revealed  after surgery in 1964 that early detection had saved his life and urged people to get annual medical checkups.
Since then, it’s become common for celebrities to go public about their illnesses. A few examples:
Photo: Maggiejumps via Wikipedia
Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org
URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/11/in-going-public-valerie-harper-is-in-good-company/
URLs in this post:
 March 11 appearance on the Today show: http://todayentertainment.today.com/_news/2013/03/11/17267626-valerie-harper-on-cancer-im-not-dying-until-i-do?lite
 brain cancer: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/06/valerie-harpers-rare-brain-cancer-what-caused-it/
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Valerie_Harper.jpg
 “he is gravely ill.”: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Yz8yAAAAIBAJ&sjid=pOUFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5523,1412144&dq=actor+announced+cancer&hl=en
 Wayne revealed: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=X3xfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3i8MAAAAIBAJ&pg=5603,5017702&dq=john+wayne+cancer&hl=en
 lung cancer: http://healthtools.aarp.org/health/lung-cancer
 Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vRfdgU2Q4E
 Douglas: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/movies-for-grownups/info-03-2010/michael_douglas_secondtimearound.html
 upcoming biopic about Liberace.: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/michael-douglas-matt-damon-liberace-biopic-gay-sex-scenes_n_2827697.html
 Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEMkW1lu5Ps
 Patrick Swayze: http://www.aarp.org/videos.id=685771540001/
 pancreatic cancer: http://healthtools.aarp.org/health/pancreatic-cancer
 Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX9TZWclmHE
 breast cancer: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/11/27/new-mammogram-debate-is-screening-overdone/
 Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqIGtTV326E
 Glen Campbell: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/music/info-08-2011/glen-campbell-final-memory-for-fans.html
 People magazine interview : http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20504436,00.html
 Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED6upzp3reo
 Fox: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/movies-for-grownups/info-05-2011/michael-j-fox-birthday.html
 Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBQ04iKtYSs
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