I’m a HUGE Golden Girls fan, and that automatically makes me a huge Rue McClanahan fan. She died today, Thursday June 3, at 1 am at the age of 76 of a stroke.
“Golden Girls” ran from 1985-1992, 180 episodes which still rerun today. It broke the mold for ‘old folks’ as these women were seen as vibrant, active, and sexually viable characters over the age of 50. Rue played the over-sexed Blanche Devereaux, to the hilt. Betty White was originally scheduled to play the role, with Rue as Rose. Betty White pointed out she thought America had likely had enough of her as a nymphomaniac character. Producers switched the two, and Betty said she never would have taken the role to the heights that Rue did.
Betty and Rue remained friends, and Betty was quoted today from the set of her TV Land comedy “Hot in Cleveland” – “I treasured our relationship. It hurts more than I even thought it would, if that’s even possible.” White recently starred in Saturday Night Live.
(Image: Rue McClanahan, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from debbiesnax’s photostream)
Marc Cherry, Desperate Housewives creator told “Extra,” “In the hands of lesser actresses, Blanche’s vanity and sexual appetite would have been off-putting. But in Rue’s brilliant hands, that character became one of the most beloved in the history of TV. Rue’s kindness, generosity and enormous talent will be sorely missed.”
Rue started out in theater, winning an Obie (off-Broadway version of the Tony) in 1970. She was nominated 4 times for an Emmy for Golden Girls, winning in 1987. She also got 3 Golden Globe nods. Rue has been on numerous old favorite shows including, “All in the Family,” “Love Boat,” “Maude” (with Golden Girl Bea Arthur), “Momma’s Family,” “Gimme a Break” and more recent show such as “King of the Hill.” She was married 6 times and titled her 2007 memoir “My First Five Husbands … And the Ones Who Got Away,” in which talks about a tryst in Lake Tahoe, learning to ski.
Popularly thought of as the ‘best’ Blanche scene ever; Rue is brilliant, hysterically funny and mesmerizing.
Best of Blanche
The Ski Channel salutes one of the funniest gals on TV, Thanks for being a friend!