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June 3, 2010 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Rue McClanahan has died of a stroke at age 76. She was known and loved as Blanche Deveraux on the Golden Girls. She has joined costars Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty in the great beyond, where presumably, they serve cheesecake.
posted by grapefruitmoon (89 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by halonine at 8:54 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by edmcbride at 8:54 AM on June 3, 2010


Very sad. Rue was a great woman and actor.

My partner played Rue's son in Dark of the Moon in 1970, and has many wonderful stories about her.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:55 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:56 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by Houyhnhnm at 8:58 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by Faint of Butt at 8:58 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by box at 8:59 AM on June 3, 2010


Thank you for being a friend, Rue.

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posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:01 AM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


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The scene about 5 minutes into this clip is absolutely brilliant. She was a fantastic actress.
posted by Dismantled King at 9:02 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by silverstatue at 9:03 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by cashman at 9:04 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by ursus_comiter at 9:04 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by saulgoodman at 9:05 AM on June 3, 2010


Rue got some serious mileage out of Blanche's character, in The Golden Palace which was a Golden Girls spinoff, and guest appearances on Nurses and the late Richard Mulligan's Empty Nest.

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posted by zarq at 9:05 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by jquinby at 9:06 AM on June 3, 2010


:-(
posted by bjgeiger at 9:07 AM on June 3, 2010


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(Blanche was the best.)
posted by sallybrown at 9:08 AM on June 3, 2010


Based on the health problems I'd been hearing about, this is a mercy. 'Night, Rue...
posted by hermitosis at 9:08 AM on June 3, 2010


I was always a little weirded out that sexpot Blanche was Steve-from-Blue's-Clues grandmother.

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posted by DU at 9:09 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by BrotherCaine at 9:10 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by Tesseractive at 9:11 AM on June 3, 2010


Sad news, indeed. Though, I have to admit, her GG character always skeezed me out a bit. Oh well...

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posted by Thorzdad at 9:11 AM on June 3, 2010


She also appered with Dame Edna, wrote the book "My First 5 Husbands" and made a cat-care instructional video cassette, Rue McClanahan's Cat Party.
posted by iviken at 9:12 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


There can be only one!
posted by stormpooper at 9:13 AM on June 3, 2010


Getty in 2008. Arthur in 2009. McClanahan in 2010...

Dear Betty White,

Please take very good care of yourself in 2011.

Love,

Your Fans
posted by snottydick at 9:15 AM on June 3, 2010 [27 favorites]


I'm sad to hear this.

I have a cousin who worked for a while for a magazine published by the University of Tulsa (where Rue McClanahan had been a student). My cousin was assigned to interview her, and ended up visiting the set of Golden Girls and meeting all four of the stars. She told me that they all were pretty much just like their characters. I love that.
posted by Shohn at 9:15 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by Pope Guilty at 9:15 AM on June 3, 2010


Oh, no!

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posted by brundlefly at 9:15 AM on June 3, 2010


Married six times... goodness. How interesting that although none of the first five marriages lasted more than a year or three, the sixth lasted for 13 years until her death. I guess sometimes it really is a good idea to keep trying.

She always seemed like the nicest person in the Golden Girls, really warm and kind.
posted by orange swan at 9:16 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd think Betty White would feel really heart-broken today.
posted by orange swan at 9:18 AM on June 3, 2010


Can't say that she was my favorite Golden Girl because one of the things that made them great was their ensemble work; they were an amazing team of talented and funny actresses. They were all great and Rue did a wonderful job playing Blanche as part of that team. She will be missed.
posted by NoraCharles at 9:18 AM on June 3, 2010


Only Rose left now. Very sad news.

I remember telling my mum when Blanche died. 'They won't make any more now, then, will they?' she replied. I guess in cableland shows really do live forever.
posted by mippy at 9:18 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by Tacodog at 9:23 AM on June 3, 2010


Her character, though, always creeped me out.
posted by stormpooper at 9:23 AM on June 3, 2010


Oh god. I knew she'd been ailing for some time now but JESUS CHRIST LEAVE THE GOLDEN GIRLS ALONE, UNIVERSE.

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posted by elizardbits at 9:25 AM on June 3, 2010


I'm not liking Summer of Death 2 very much.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:25 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


:(
posted by zizzle at 9:34 AM on June 3, 2010


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Betty White is made of puppies and evil and will never pass away.
posted by Malice at 9:35 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


She wrote a book? I'll be stopping at the library on the way home, then. Thanks, iviken!
posted by alynnk at 9:36 AM on June 3, 2010


An atypical Blanche scene, but a great one nonetheless.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:36 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was always a little weirded out that sexpot Blanche was Steve-from-Blue's-Clues grandmother.

Yeah, that was definitely one of the weirdest "WTF?!" children's TV moments I've ever seen.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:36 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by TheGoodBlood at 9:37 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by killy willy at 9:37 AM on June 3, 2010


This is getting ridiculous.

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posted by grubi at 9:39 AM on June 3, 2010


Oh, sonofabitch. Rest well, Rue.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:39 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by redbeard at 9:42 AM on June 3, 2010


Blanche: What was your first impression of me?
Rose: That you wore too much make-up and were a slut. But I was wrong. You don't wear too much make-up.

Blanche Devereaux: ...there was a time in my life when I tried quittin' somethin'.
Dorothy Petrillo-Zbornak: Blanche, you don't mean...
Blanche Devereaux: Sex, Dorothy. I tried quittin' sex.
Dorothy Petrillo-Zbornak: Obviously you fell off the wagon.
Sophia Petrillo: And onto a naval base.

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posted by Madamina at 9:42 AM on June 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


Wow, this is the most period-laden death post I've ever scene. Let's word it up a bit people. Show some respeck. Rue was a hilarious talent on Golden Girls (hmm, maybe lots of periods would be expected in a Golden Girls post) and earlier in her long career.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:43 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was always a little weirded out that sexpot Blanche was Steve-from-Blue's-Clues grandmother.

Similarly, I remember thinking, "How did Blanche from The Golden Girls end up in Starship Troopers?"
posted by Prospero at 9:48 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by rodmandirect at 9:50 AM on June 3, 2010


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When Rue McClanahan was ill last year, Betty White sent her a card that read, "Hurry up and die so I can be the last Golden Girl." McClanahan loved the joked and thanked White heartily for cheering her up.
posted by jefficator at 9:52 AM on June 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


Blanche: I swear with God as my witness, I will never pick up another man!... in a library... on a Saturday... unless he's cute... and drives a nice car... Amen

Amen.
posted by tommasz at 9:59 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


(hmm, maybe lots of periods would be expected in a Golden Girls post)

Quite the opposite, they were post-menopausal.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:02 AM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


I know some where a bit weirded out by Blanche's old-lady-aggressively-forward-sexuality shtick, but even though I never found her remotely sexually attractive I loved the idea and McClanahan's enactment of it. She did a bang up job with the part (so to speak).

cheers
posted by edgeways at 10:05 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by Smart Dalek at 10:06 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by ericb at 10:13 AM on June 3, 2010


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Blanche was always my favorite.
posted by devinemissk at 10:19 AM on June 3, 2010


She was also quite funny as neighbor Vivian Harmon on the tv show Maude. I can still remember her asking Maude something like, "Does this dress look too ba-ZOOOM?"
posted by JanetLand at 10:20 AM on June 3, 2010


Prospero: "Similarly, I remember thinking, "How did Blanche from The Golden Girls end up in Starship Troopers?""

Holy crap, I love that movie and I never realized that was her. I guess it was the goggles.
posted by brundlefly at 10:20 AM on June 3, 2010


Holy crap, I love that movie and I never realized that was her. I guess it was the goggles.

"Oh God, you're shitting me, that was her?" --Mr. F

RIP, ma'am. I have to love anyone who calls their memoir My First Five Husbands.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:40 AM on June 3, 2010


You know, looking at Wikipedia's start and end dates for the series, it looks like the series ran while I was a teenager (11-18), and yet I remember this series very fondly, despite not being one of their target demographics.

I think what drew me to it even as a teenager was how perfect the comic timing of the three actresses was (zing! zing! zing!) ... and Rue McClanahan was the best of the three in my opinion. She knew exactly how to let the joke hover for just as long as needed. Betty White was wonderful but I think the humor between Bea and Rue probably relied the most upon them having their timing perfect, and God, they had their timing perfect.

I didn't know Rue from any of her earlier work.
posted by WCityMike at 10:41 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by condour75 at 10:46 AM on June 3, 2010


My God, Clayton, you ARE me!

RIP, Rue.
posted by buzzkillington at 10:55 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


There can be only one!

You don't know how right you are.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:56 AM on June 3, 2010




Such sad news but one that brings back sweet memories of her incredible comedic chops... yes indeed, thank you for being a friend...
posted by braemar at 11:00 AM on June 3, 2010


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...and yet, Betty White endures.

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posted by Halloween Jack at 11:19 AM on June 3, 2010


And thus completes another round of celebrities dieing sets of threes.
posted by jessssse at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by nooneyouknow at 11:21 AM on June 3, 2010


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posted by twidget at 11:23 AM on June 3, 2010





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posted by VanishingPoint at 11:42 AM on June 3, 2010


She seemed like the best kind of great aunt to have.
posted by PenDevil at 11:55 AM on June 3, 2010


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She was a wonderful comedic actor.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:02 PM on June 3, 2010


Betty White:
"Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasured our relationship. It hurts more than I even thought it would, if that's even possible."
posted by ericb at 12:11 PM on June 3, 2010


...but I think the humor between Bea and Rue probably relied the most upon them having their timing perfect, and God, they had their timing perfect.

They perfected it on Maude, where Rue played Maude's best friend Vivian. Rue was the dumb one, while Bea naturally was the sarcastic and awesome one.

When it came time to cast the Golden Girls, Rue originally got the part of Rose because of her work on Maude. Betty White was cast as Blanche because of her role as "man-hungry" Sue-Ann Niven on Mary Tyler Moore. After talking it over, Rue and Betty told the producers it would be better if they switched roles and played against type.

I think it was pretty damn smart of them. Betty would have been very funny no doubt, but Rue made the character. Whenever Blanche had to be overly melodramatic, she played the Tennessee Williams burlesque to perfection.
posted by Spatch at 12:27 PM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


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Betty White still lives.
posted by billypilgrim at 12:30 PM on June 3, 2010


goddammit.

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posted by New England Cultist at 12:53 PM on June 3, 2010


I've just been catching up on Maude reruns -- in fact, coincidentally, the last one I saw involved Hermione Baddeley's character having a small stroke.

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posted by evilcolonel at 1:17 PM on June 3, 2010


It must be noted for historical purposes that Golden Girls originally hired Rue to play Rose and Betty to play Blanche, based on their previous roles, but sitcom genius Jay Sandrich, who was hired to direct the pilot, had the idea to have them swap roles, and the result was Classic TV (and avoiding future typecasting for both).

It always seemed obvious that Betty White would be the Last Golden Girl Standing.

But if you're talking about the Celebrity Death Rule of Threes, I don't quite see Dennis Hopper lumped together with Rue McClanahan and Gary Coleman; the third will probably be another Sitcom Legend (and expect a couple more Counterculture Legends to join Dennis). If not, maybe we can put this grim mythology to death...

Anyway,

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I Rue the day...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:18 PM on June 3, 2010


how did I miss Spatch's comment? anyway, I was glad to give Jay Sandrich his props and Spatch gets a favorite from me
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:21 PM on June 3, 2010


Halloween Jack: ...and yet, Betty White endures.

It was an All-in-One and One-in-All of limitless being and self — not merely a thing of one Space-Time continuum, but allied to the ultimate animating essence of existence's whole unbounded sweep — the last, utter sweep which has no confines and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike. It was perhaps that which certain secret cults of earth have whispered of as BHE-TEEWYIIT, and which has been a deity under other names; that which the crustaceans of Sain Oh-Lav worship as the Rosenyl-Ond, and which the vaporous brains of the Hhha Pee Homm Mayy Chker spiral nebulae know by an untranslatable Sign...
posted by WCityMike at 2:58 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm home now and would like to publicly bemoan that The Golden Girls is not available on Hulu. That is all.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:04 PM on June 3, 2010


Remember this?

Rue McClanahan had a heart by-pass surgery around November 2009. Betty White sent her sick former co-star a get well card and bouquet. Betty White allegedly wrote on the card, "I hope you die, so I can be the last Golden Girl."
posted by bwg at 5:49 PM on June 3, 2010


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posted by kuppajava at 6:26 PM on June 3, 2010


Pleased so many MeFites liked her. I did too. May she rest in peace.
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posted by nickyskye at 6:55 PM on June 3, 2010


Every time I lose a Golden Girl, it's like losing one of my best girlfriends (not that I've ever been lucky enough to have a friend like any of them.. maybe that's why they've all meant so much to me!).

RIP, Rue.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:36 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by spinturtle at 5:42 AM on June 4, 2010


One of the articles I read yesterday about her death had this awesome quote:
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.'"
posted by antifuse at 7:06 AM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


This really needs to stop. Sigh.

Thank you, Rue. Thank you for Maude, and the Girls, and Nunsense, and and and and.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:30 AM on June 6, 2010


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