Rue McClanahan

Rue McClanahan

Betty White was originally considered for the role of the sexpot, Blanche, on "The Golden Girls" (1985). However, Betty had already been the aggressive Sue Ann Nivens on "Mary Tyler Moore" (1970) and Rue had played the introverted Vivian on "Maude" (1972). It was thought best not to typecast these two actresses by having them portray similar characters. Therefore, Betty got the part of naive Rose Nylund and Rue played the oversexed Blanche.

After her second marriage broke up, she went to New York, and started doing films. She thought her They Might Be Giants (1971) part was her best movie part.

After moving to New York City, she worked as a file clerk before finding success in the theater.

Aunt of actress Amelia Kinkade.

Became a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Tulsa.

In 1997, Rue was diagnosed with cancer. She had a lumpectomy and five months of chemotherapy. She did lectures entitled "Aging Gracefully" for breast-cancer support groups.

Mother of Mark Bish.

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).

She graduated cum laude in the University of Tulsa with a degree in German and theatre arts. She was also the only female member of the school's science club.

She was a lifelong liberal Democrat. In 2003 she wrote a letter to presidential nominee John Kerry telling him that he lost both her vote and respect due to pheasant hunting. She endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election.

She was an Honorary Director for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Suffered a minor stroke while recovering from heart bypass surgery, which she had in November 2009 [January 14, 2010].

Upon her death, she was cremated.

Was a vegan and dedicated animal rights activist.

Was estranged (in 2009) from her sixth husband, Morrow Wilson at the time of her death.

Was of Scot-Irish and Choctaw Indian ancestry.

When it came to stage performances she had "jitters" for opening nights, about rehearsals and worrying about not having enough time to prepare perfectly.