Thursday, June 3, 2010

RUE ~ "Queen of Comedy"

"Golden Girls" star Rue McClanahan has died after a massive stroke. The actress passed away at 1:00 a.m. on June 3, her rep tells People. McClanahan, age 76, had previously suffered a minor stroke while recovering from bypass surgery earlier this year. Her rep notes that at the time of her death, McClanahan "had her family with her," saying, "She went in peace." Though McClanahan will best be remembered for her "Golden Girls" portrayal of Blanche Devereaux, she enjoyed a 50-year television career that included standout roles in "Maude," "The Love Boat," and most recently "Law & Order" and Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns." Born in Healdton, Okla., McClanahan attended the University of Tulsa before moving to New York City where she worked as a file clerk before finding success in the theater. She was a life-long animal welfare advocate and vegetarian and supported PETA. McClanahan's death leaves Betty White as the only surviving regular cast member of "The Golden Girls," after Bea Arthur's death in 2009 and Estelle Getty's death in 2008. On a press call with Zap2it in late April, Betty spoke of her good friend and former cast mate. "Oh Ruesy. We talk about every, oh maybe three, four weeks. She lives in New York of course. And she had a bum go. She had a triple bypass and then had a stroke. And she's just doing fine. I talked with her. She's home and doing better and better and speech is all cleared up. She's in great shape. Isn't that good news?" McClanahan is survived by her sixth husband, Morrow Wilson, and her son Mark Bish. In her 2007 book "My First Five Husbands... and The One That Got Away," McClanahan wrote, "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.

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