April 17, 2014 -- After Valerie Harper received her inoperable cancer diagnosis last March, the actress said it was finally time to put together a last will and testament.
Doctors had told Harper, 74, that she could have just a few more months left.
She told Howard Stern that after the troubling news, she and her husband, Tony Cacciotti, started to plan a funeral and "we finally got a will."
Now, through treatment, Harper has done "Dancing With the Stars" and is around more than a year later, surpassing all medical expectations.
Until the diagnosis forced Harper into action, she said, she and her husband only "had a lightweight something," nothing ironclad like a will. She said Cacciotti had been superstitious, not wanting to do a will to jinx their life together.
"I said, 'Tony, we got to do this,'" she added. "You should do a will ... Death is inevitable, it's like gravity."
The biggest reason to get things straightened out on paper was Harper's children.
"If we don't say what we want done, [the kids] are going to say, 'Did they want to be cremated?'" she told Stern. "They will have to buy plots for us. It's unfair to our kids."
Harper said the actual funeral might end up being a "private little family thing," and also spoke with Stern about God and religion.
She said she wasn't scared of death and actually was "fascinated" to see what's next. "Your spirit is what animates you," she said. "[Your body] is just kind of a boarding house."
She continued, "I don't know that there's not God. I think God is love, God is the communication between people ... what brings out the best in us.”
Stern finally asked Valerie whether she had ever done anything that would damn her to hell. "I shoplifted when I was in my teens," she said.