Emmy winning actress, Rue McClanahan, who played the sexy and glamorous, but a little long in the tooth, Southern belle Blanche Devereaux on the popular TV series, “The Golden Girls” has passed away at age 76. Rue suffered a stroke and died on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 1 a.m.
The vivacious actress had undergone several medical procedures in the last few years, including treatment for breast cancer in 1997 and heart bypass surgery in 2009.
Of her character, Blanche Devereaux, Rue once said that Blanche “is in love with life and she loves men. I think she has an attitude toward women that’s competitive. She is friends with Dorothy and Rose, but if she has enough provocation she becomes competitive with them. I think basically she’s insecure. It’s the other side of the Don Juan syndrome.”
The plot of “The Golden Girls” revolved around three ladies in their golden years living together as roommates, each with different personality quirks and philosophies on life. Dorothy (Bea Arthur) was the cynic with a deadpan dry wit, Blanche (Rue McClanahan) was the sexually liberated woman (or shameless hussy, as the case may be), and Rose (Betty White) was the clueless airhead from the strangest place in the world, St. Olaf, Minnesota. Dorothy’s wise-cracking Sicilian mother, Sophia, comes to live with them after her retirement home burns down. My two favorites were Blanche and Rose but they were all amazing comediennes, who all won Emmys for their work in “Golden Girls.” The series ran for 7 seasons from September, 1985 until May 1992, but lives on in reruns and DVDs.
McClanahan won her Emmy for her work on the show in 1987. In real life, Rue McClanahan was married 6 times and called her 2007 memoir “My First Five Husbands … And the Ones Who Got Away.”
Just as the recent passing of Gary Coleman left Todd Bridges the only surviving star of the 80s sitcom, “Different Strokes,” Rue McClanahan’s death leaves actress Betty White, the only surviving star of “The Golden Girls.” Betty will be on TV Land this month in a new sitcom called “Hot in Cleveland.”
Actress Estelle Getty (Dorothy’s mother, Sophia) passed away on July 22, 2008 at age 84. Actress Bea Arthur (Dorothy) passed away on last year on April 25, 2009 at age 86. Yes, you read that right. Bea Atrhur was actually older than Estelle Getty.
Betty White, who is 88, said in a statement that “Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasured our relationship. It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that’s even possible.”
Wikipedia and Associated Press: Golden Girl, Rue McClanahan Dies (6/3/10)
For fans of “The Golden Girls,” don’t miss:
The Golden Girls was a Golden TV Show – Season 2 DVD Review, by Jack Aiello