“People always ask me if I’m like Blanche. And I say, ‘Well, Blanche was an oversexed, self-involved, man-crazy, vain Southern Belle from Atlanta — and I’m not from Atlanta!'” – Rue McClanahan
One of my personal favorite entertainers ever, Rue McClanahan, passed away from a stroke on June 3. Best known as the sexy Blanche Devereaux on Golden Girls, Rue also appeared on Maude as Vivian Cavender Harmon and Mama’s Family as Aunt Fran Crowley. Another early role was on the hugely popular All in the Family.
This hilarious and talented actress was born in 1934 in Oklahoma. In addition to her wonderful work on television, Rue McClanahan was also very well known (and respected) for her charitable work. She lent her hand to organizations fighting against cancer, AIDS, and cruelty against animals.
She was married to her sixth husband, actor Morrow Wilson, at the time of her death.
Did You Know?
- In 1997, Rue was diagnosed with cancer. She had a lumpectomy and five months of chemotherapy.
- Was of Scot-Irish and Choctaw Indian ancestry
- Played the same character, Blanche Devereaux, on four different TV series: “The Golden Palace” (1992), “The Golden Girls” (1985), “Nurses” (1991), and “Empty Nest” (1988).
- Was a vegan.
- Oddly enough, Betty White was originally considered for the role of Blanche, on “The Golden Girls”. However, Betty had already been the sexy Sue Ann Nivens on “Mary Tyler Moore” while Rue had played the rather shy and unassuming Vivian on “Maude”. It was thought best not to typecast these two actresses by having them portray similar characters. So, Betty got the part of naive Rose Nylund and Rue played the sex-crazy Blanche! It’s impossible to imagine it any other way.
It’s pretty depressing that two of the past posts on Hollywood Yesterday are centered around stars we’ve recently lost. But that’s really the whole idea behind Hollywood Yesterday – I wanted a place where the stars, movies, and shows of yesterday could live on forever and continue to touch lives.
This way we never really have to say goodbye. Mostly just, “Thanks.” And to Rue, of course, we have to add, “Thank you for being a Friend.”