'What's Happening!!' co-star Danielle Spencer is ailing

This undated photo released by Delmar Photography shows actress Danielle Spencer, who is best known for her role as Dee Thomas in the 1970s comedy series, "What's Happening!!." Spencer is home in Virginia recuperating from emergency brain surgery after a series of health setbacks. She was released from a hospital Oct. 4 after surgery for a bleeding hematoma, a result of a 1977 car accident that killed her stepfather. Friends of Spencer, who lives in Richmond, have begun an appeal for financial assistance on her behalf at GoFundMe.com. (Virgil Odell/Delmar Photography via AP)

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.

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