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Actress Rue McClanahan Dies – Another Golden Girl Gone

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With the passing of actress Rue McClanahan today, best known for her role as one of the Golden Girls, actress Betty White is the only surviving cast member.

Rue McClanahan died this morning at the age of 76 reportedly from a massive stroke according to news reports. Her family and friends were at her side said her manager, Barbara Lawrence.

She played Southern Belle Blanche Devereaux from 1985 to 1992 the full run of the comedy series and also won an Emmy for her work in 1987 as the lustiest of all the characters.

Her co-stars Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty died in died in 2009 and 2008 respectively.

An Oklahoma native, McClanahan started her career in her 30s (after motherhood) appearing in New York theater. She came to Hollywood in the 1970s and landed a role on All in the Family and Maude, both popular sitcoms in their day.

She took the role of Blanche on the Golden Girls at the age of 51; the youngest of the four friends.

McClanahan was married six times and married for the last time in 1997 to writer-actor Morrow Wilson. She called her 2007 memoir “My First Five Husbands … And the Ones Who Got Away.”

After the Golden Girls left the airwaves in 1992, she tried her hand at her own series; a spin-off called the Golden Palace with Getty that was also cancelled in 1992. She headed back to New York where she appeared Off Broadway.

In 1997, she underwent treatment for breast cancer and spoke often to fellow cancer groups on the topic. In January, she was said to have suffered a minor stroke while recuperating from bypass heart surgery.

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