Rue McClanahan will truly be missed ... for her smile, her compassion ... and her ability to tell a dirty joke. TMZ obtained footage of Rue and her gal pal Betty White from 1985 -- in which the… READ MORE >
Rue McClanahan (February 21, 1934 – June 3, 2010) was an American actress, best known for her roles on television as Vivian Harmon on Maude, Fran Crowley on Mama's Family, and Blanche Devereaux on The Golden Girls, for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1987. McClanahan was born Eddi-Rue McClanahan in Healdton, Oklahoma, the daughter of Methodist parents Dreda Rheua-Nell (née Medaris), a beautician, and William Edwin McClanahan, a building contractor. She was of Irish and Choctaw, Native American ancestry, and grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma; she graduated from Ardmore High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Tulsa; she majored in German and Theater, and was a member of the woman's fraternity Kappa Alpha Theta. She was also a National Honor Society Member. McClanahan made her professional stage début at Pennsylvania's Erie Playhouse in 1957, in the play Inherit the Wind. She began acting on off-Broadway in New York City in 1957, but did not make her Broadway début until 1969, when she portrayed Sally Weber in the original production of John Sebastian and Murray Schisgal's musical, Jimmy Shine, with Dustin Hoffman in the title role.