NEW YORK >> Danielle Spencer, who played the tattletale little sister Dee Thomas on the 1970s TV series “What’s Happening!!,” is home in Virginia recuperating from emergency brain surgery after a series of health setbacks.
Spencer, who had been working as a veterinarian, was released from a hospital Oct. 4 after surgery for a bleeding hematoma, a result of a 1977 car accident that killed her stepfather, Tim Pelt, as he shielded her from harm. She can speak just slightly and must use crutches to walk, said a spokesman, Jason Hardy.
The 53-year-old Spencer began suffering symptoms in 2004, when she was confined to a wheelchair and did a long stint in rehab to learn how to walk again. In 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy, Hardy said.
The ABC sitcom, which aired from 1976 to 1979, followed the lives of three working-class teens in the Los Angeles neighborhood Watts. Spencer played the sister of one, Roger “Raj” Thomas. She also appeared in a sequel, “What’s Happening Now!!”
Friends of Spencer, who lives in Richmond, have begun an appeal for financial assistance on her behalf at GoFundMe.com.