Top 10 Memorable Facts About Rue McClanahan

Rue McClanahan, best known for her role as Blanche in "The Golden Girls," passed away today at age 76. Take a moment to enjoy these 10 facts about her fascinating and passionate life and career in showbiz.

Remembering Rue McClanahan

A Star Was Born

Rue was born Eddi-Rue McClanahan in Healdton, Oklahoma, on February 21, 1934. She was named after her mother, Rhuea Nell, who owned a beauty shop, and her father, William Edwin, a building contractor.

College Years

Rue attended the University of Tulsa where she majored in German and theatre arts and was a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. After receiving her degree, she moved to New York to study acting under theatre legend Uta Hagen.

Where it All Began

Rue made her first professional stage debut at Pennsylvania’s Erie Playhouse in 1957 in “Inherit the Wind.”


McClanahan earned four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Blanche in “The Golden Girls,” winning in 1987. She was also nominated for three Golden Globes and received a Golden Apple.

Animal Lover

Rue was a life long vegetarian and animal rights advocate. She was one of the first celebrities to support PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

A Woman of Many Talents

She produced and wrote the 1991 musical “Oedipus Schmedipus, As Long As You Love Your Mother,” which was staged in Los Angeles.

On TV Screens Everywhere

McClanahan made appearances in more than 100 television shows and movies, including “Boy Meets World,” “Law & Order” and “King of the Hill.”

Miss Congeniality

As one of the most popular students at Ardmore High School, she was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by her peers.

Opening Night

She was the first performer to play Lady MacBird in the drama “MacBird!,” which debuted in 1967. The play ran for 386 performances


After six marriages and five divorces, McClanahan wrote the 2007 autobiography “My First five Husbands... And the Ones Who Got Away.” In 1997, she married Morrow Wilson.