The Golden Girls star Rue McClanahan died from a massive stroke Thursday, June 3, 2010 at the age of 76.
Rue McClanahan’s manager Barbara Lawrence told People magazine that she passed at New York Presbyterian Hospital and had her family with her. “She passed away at 1 a.m.,” she said. “She went in peace.”
McClanahan played the southern beauty Blanche Devereaux on the sitcom The Golden Girls, which ran 1985-1992. She was the youngest of the four golden girls. Her death leaves only one golden girl alive, Betty White who played Rose Nylund. Estelle Getty died in 2008 and Bea Arthur passed away in 2009.
Surviving golden girl Betty White released a statement saying, “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.”
McClanahan had triple bypass surgery in November 2009 and then suffered a minor stroke in January. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and fully recovered from that.
McClanahan received an Emmy Award in 1987 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on The Golden Girls.
She was also known for her roles as Vivian Cavender Harmon on Maude and Fran Crowley on Mama’s Family. McClanahan’s last acting role was in the cable series Sordid Lives on the Logo network, which premiered July 23, 2008. She played Peggy Ingram.
McClanahan was married six times. Her first husband was Tom Bish, with whom she had a son, Mark Bish. She also married actor Norman Hartweg, Peter D’Maio, Gus Fisher and Tom Keel. She then married husband Morrow Wilson on Christmas Day in 1997.