Broadway Director Sues Actress Who Dropped out of Broadway Show Because of Brain, Lung Cancer

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When Broadway actress Valerie Harper had to drop out of a production because her lung cancer spread to her brain, she filed a lawsuit against show director Matthew Lombardo claiming that she should be paid for the remainder of her contract.

Lombardo was directing a national tour of “Looped.” Producers first noticed something was wrong with Harper when she started slurring and forgetting her lines during rehearsals.

Lombardo allegedly urged Harper to consult a doctor; when the 74-year-old actress was told that she had only three months to live, she left the show.

Now, Lombardo has filed a lawsuit of his own against Harper, in which he claims that Harper did not tell him that she had cancer until after she signed on to star in his play.

Lombardo claims that Harper and her husband Tony Cacciotti “were both aware” that the actress had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, but that they failed to disclose this information to him when she signed on to the show in 2012.

The director is suing her for $2 million. He claims that the actress’s hasty departure left him with limited time to find a replacement to fill her role.

TMZ referred to Lombardo’s lawsuit “the most tasteless lawsuit we’ve ever seen.”

Earlier in April, Harper definitively denied reports that she is cancer-free.

“I am not ‘absolutely cancer-free,’” she said in a statement. “I wish I were.”


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