Rue McClanahan died today at the age of 76 after suffering being taken off of life support at the direction of her son, while Gary Coleman’s ex-wife says she had no choice but to take him off of life support last week, lest he end up “like Muhammad Ali or Terri Schiavo.”
The past week has been a busy one for celebrity deaths and as McClanahan and Coleman passed after having life support pulled for them, the world lost two sitcom legends from the 1980’s.
The millions going to see the Sex and the City sequel this spring may not immediately realize it, but the template for their favorite franchise was set in the 1980’s as a group of four senior ladies descended upon Miami to enjoy their golden years by reliving their younger years…much as the Sex and the City women are doing now, albeit about twenty years earlier.
Rue McClanahan in many was the original “cougar” (or the second one after Mrs. Robinson), and was clearly an inspiration for Sex and the City’s Samantha. Her still sexy as a senior portrayal of Blanche Deveraux on the smash sitcom hit Golden Girls was groundbreaking and hilarious for its time. Her death comes as her Golden Girls co-star Betty White enjoys renewed popularity after her Super Bowl ad and her hosting role on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. While Betty White was a star before Golden Girls, the chemistry of the cast made all of them, McClanahan and White included, bigger stars than ever before.
While her passing is sad, McClanahan lived a long and full life and will be remembered fondly.
Gary Coleman, it turns out, was taken off life support at the direction of not his wife, but of his ex-wife. Shannon Price, we have come to learn, was actually divorced from Coleman when she gave her consent to take him off of life support.
Price gave an interview today to TMZ that said the decision was easy for her as she thought that her ex-husband, after suffering the head injury that he did, would have ended up with brain damage anyway, so the decision to get him off life support was a relatively easy one.
Price today also asked for help from Coleman’s fans in helping to pay for his funeral, as she says she cannot afford to pay for it on her own. Coleman, like McClanahan was a bit of a groundbreaker as well as in the late 1970’s, when his show Diff’rent Strokes premiered, the idea of a wealthy white man adopting young African American boys was a bit radical for mainstream television.
All in all, it has been a sad couple of weeks for 1980’s sitcom stars as two, Gary Coleman and Rue McClanahan, are taken off of life support in two very different contexts.
Source: Staff Editor, “Gary C’s Ex: ‘He Would’ve Been Like Muhammad Ali'”, tmz.com
Source: Carina MacKenzie, “Rue McClanahan taken off of life support by son Mark Bish, says husband Morrow Wilson”, zap2it.com