"Three weeks after my mother died, I had my final audition for Taxi," the actress says

By Patrick Gomez
Updated October 10, 2016 12:23 PM

Marilu Henner will get emotional on Monday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars.

As part of Most Memorable Year night on the ABC reality dance competition, the former Taxi star will honor her mother, Loretta, who died at the age of 58 from complications of rheumatoid arthritis.

“1978 was like A Tale of Two Cities. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Henner says of the year she is going to feature on DWTS. “Three weeks after my mother died, I had my final audition for Taxi. I said, ‘Mom, lets do this together. Let’s do this together.’ ”

Booking a lead role on Taxi “completely changed my life in so many ways,” says Henner. And her costars appreciated her presence on the hit sitcom, which ran from 1978–83.

“She became the glue for our show,” says Taxi co-creator James Brooks. “An all-male case, all-male producers and she was the lone woman in the mix and she was our person. She was the one who kept us all together.”

“This was what her mother wanted for her,” adds Henner’s costar Tony Danza. “She turned it into a tribute to her mother as opposed to [something] melancholy.”

Now, Henner says she and pro dancer partner Derek Hough will be “honoring” her mother with a Viennese waltz to Jack Garrat’s “Surprise Yourself”.

Dancing with the Stars‘ Most Memorable Year night airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.