Time can’t alter solid friendships. Just ask Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman and Georgia Engel – who reunited with Betty White this week to tape an upcoming episode of the TVLand sitcom Hot In Cleveland.
It made for an emotional week, agreed the women, who gathered Thursday afternoon for a press conference on the CBS Radford studio lot, where the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show was filmed from 1970-77.
“The tears come up, but then they’re part of the laughter,” said Harper, 73. “Did you ever laugh till you cried? That’s been happening a lot. It’s been so full of life and joy and love. And fun!”
On the episode, set to air Sept. 4 and titled “Love Is All Around” – which, nostalgia buffs will note, was the title song on the The MTM Show – the women play members of a team called the Gorgeous Ladies of Bowling (GLOB).
The reunion marks the second time Moore, 76, has reunited with White, 91, on Hot in Cleveland. On season two she played a jail cellmate of White’s spirited character, Elka.
Harper, who last month revealed that she has terminal brain cancer, says that since her diagnosis,” I don’t have a lot of bad symptoms. They may be down the road, but I’m not thinking of down the road. I’m thinking just of today.”
White chimed in to say she is proud of Harper’s steady resolve in the face of adversity, calling her “Miss Positive. I won’t buy any of those silly things they tell her.”
Smiling, Harper expressed her gratitude for the outpouring of support she’s received from her close pals, as well as from fans around the world. “It’s been wonderful and sweet, and I’ve got to get back to everyone,” she said.
But first things first: Her focus, she says, is on doing good work and recreating the comedy magic she and her cohorts do so well.
Says Harper: “I’m thinking of this moment and getting my lines right so I support my fellow players and serve the audience who are going to see this really funny show.”