Sit down. I have something to tell you. Rue McClanahan died this morning after a massive stroke. She was 76. As Blanche Devereaux on “The Golden Girls,” Rue cracked us up as the resident man-eater and showed us how sexy shoulder pads and sequins could be. The character wasn’t so far off from her real-life persona. “People always ask me if I’m like Blanche,” Rue once said. “Well, Blanche was an oversexed, self-involved, man-crazy, vain Southern belle from Atlanta—and I’m not from Atlanta.” (For the record: she’s from Oklahoma.) By the time Rue started filming “The Golden Girls,” at age 51 in 1985, she had already had five husbands. She wrote about this in her memoir My First Five Husbands…and the Ones Who Got Away. “It was a quiet kind of desperation,” she said. “I always thought I had to have a man.” She married actor Morrow Wilson in 1997 and stayed with him until this year. Rue survived breast cancer, and had some health problems last January—while recovering from heart bypass surgery, she had a minor stroke—but had been on the mend.
We hope Rue is sitting in the great living room in the sky with Sophia (Estelle Getty, who died in 2008) and Dorothy (Bea Arthur, who died last year). We can’t believe that Betty White is now the only surviving “Golden Girl.” Thank you for being a friend, Rue! You’ll be missed. [E! Online]