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Rue McClanahan Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (6) | Trivia (27) | Personal Quotes (3) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Healdton, Oklahoma, USA
Died in New York, New York, USA  (brain hemorrhage)
Birth NameEddi-Rue McClanahan
Nickname Ruesy
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (2)

A New York stage actress in the 1950s, McClanahan was plucked from the stage by Norman Lear for roles on All in the Family (1971) and later Maude (1972). For two years (1982 - 1984), she played "Aunt Fran" on Mama's Family (1983) until her character was killed off and she joined the cast of Golden Girls. She hit her comedic stride as a sharp tongued oversexed Southern belle on The Golden Girls (1985).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel

A veteran television actress and Broadway star of the 50s, Rue McClanahan was born Eddi-Rue McClanahan in Healdton, Oklahoma, to Dreda Rheua-Nell (Medaris), a beautician, and William Edwin McClanahan, a building contractor. She was noticed by television executive Norman Lear. Lear cast her in a number of television shows, including All in the Family (1971) with Carroll O'Connor and Maude (1972) with Bea Arthur. McClanahan next co-starred with Vicki Lawrence, Ken Berry, Betty White and Carol Burnett in Mama's Family (1983) for three years, and, after it was canceled by NBC, McClanahan was probably best known for her role as the saucy, sharp southern belle, "Blanche Devereaux", in The Golden Girls (1985). She once again worked with Bea Arthur and Betty White, and with relative newcomer Estelle Getty. All four of the women won Emmy Awards for their roles. After Bea Arthur left the show after seven seasons, McClanahan, White and Getty returned for a brief spin-off in The Golden Palace (1992). In the mid-nineties, McClanahan was diagnosed with cancer, but was able to fight it successfully. In addition to lending her talents to a number of made for TV films, McClanahan has also appeared on the big screen in recent years co-starring with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in the comedy Out to Sea (1997) and with Casper Van Dien in Starship Troopers (1997). McClanahan also spends her time joining and helping organizations against cancer, AIDS, and cruelty against animals.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (6)

Morrow Wilson (25 December 1997 - 3 June 2010) (her death)
Tom Keel (1984 - 1985) (divorced)
Gussie Sam Fisher (6 November 1976 - 4 August 1979) (divorced)
Peter DeMaio (1964 - 1971) (divorced)
Norman Hartweg (1959 - 1961) (divorced)
Tom Bish (1958 - 1959) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (27)

Mother of Mark Bish.
Aunt of actress Amelia Kinkade.
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.
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.
Became a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Tulsa.
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).
One of Rue's maternal great-great-great-great-grandmothers, SheNiYah, was a Choctaw Native American. Rue also had English, and small amounts of Scots-Irish (Northern Irish), Welsh, German, French-Canadian, Dutch, and remote Portuguese, ancestry.
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.
When it came to stage performances she had "jitters" for opening nights, about rehearsals and worrying about not having enough time to prepare perfectly.
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.
Was a vegan and dedicated animal rights activist.
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].
After moving to New York City, she worked as a file clerk before finding success in the theater.
Was estranged (in 2009) from her sixth husband, Morrow Wilson at the time of her death.
Upon her death, she was cremated.
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 modeled her accent for Blanche Deveraux after Rosalynn Carter.
She kept every outfit she wore while on The Golden Girls (1985) and used a majority of them for her everyday wear away from the show.
Was a supporter, donor, and advocate for Methodist Healthcare and its 15 care services. She even gave a speech about her battle with cancer at the Travis Park United Methodist Church on May 11, 2000 East Travis, Texas.
Was good friends with actress/Comedian Vicki Lawrence, whom she met on the TV show Mama's Family (1983).
Portraying Madame Morrible in Broadway's Wicked. [June 2005]
Spoke at a press conference at Saratoga Springs, New York protesting the use of diving horses at Magic Forest Theme Park, Lake George, New York. [May 2003]
She was inducted into the 2015 inaugural Closter Hall of Fame in Closter, New Jersey.
During "Ashes to Ashes" filming, on an early morning at Universal City's studio stage, director Patrick McGoohan blocked and rehearsed the vitriolic murder scene in the stage set's funeral home mortuary complex; in the embalming mortuary laboratory crematorium suite. The scene is between 'Patrick Prince' (Patrick McGoohan) as he strangles his former lover 'Verity Chandler' (Rue McClanahan). The scene's action and motivation involves 'Verity Chandler' - a nasty devious miserably wicked evil tongued Hollywood gossip columnist and the funeral home's owner/mortician 'Patrick Prince' who is seething with resentment, controlled anger with murderous blood thirsty revenge to kill; like two fascinating characters composed of Shaw, Chekov and Shakespeare. The scene's action begins in the funeral home's foyer/viewing chapel when Prince invites his manipulated butterfly Verity into his inner-sanctum preparation laboratory lair. Once inside the lab, Prince locks the entry-door, closing in on his beautiful unprepared victim Verity Chandler like a spider spinning his web. The murder scene (as scripted) had specific dialogue but no staged motivation. Observing the two actors initially block their motivation and movement, after entering the lab, with director/actor Patrick's basic plan, was like observing two actors choreographing their pas de deux outcome of a complex sequence of the eventful scene! Interestingly, the lab had a sink wall with a mirror above the sink tub crib. Patrick with McClanahan, together, blocked the scene entirely focused on the camera's point of view, using the mirror as a second camera capturing their facial reactions during their pas de deux denouement. Rehearsing the scene together, with the entire crew standing on the side-line, was fascinating observing the two actors create and develop their confrontation for the scene's climax.
While filming a "Colombo - 'Ashes to Ashes' " (Movie of the Week in the Spring of 1998) at Universal-MCA Film City-Studios, Rue McClanahan performed in a guest role, as 'Verity Chandler' - a nasty devious miserably wicked evil tongued Hollywood gossip columnist - on Peter Falk's "Columbo" MOW prime-time-network special. The film was written by, directed, and featured actor Patrick McGoohan - as Eric Prince, seething with resentment of his ex-lover Verity, murderous and bloodthirsty for revenge. During breaks in filming, Rue McClanahan related to Falk's production designer Hub Braden's question when asked - "In 'The Golden Girls' series - how much did each of the featured performers contribute, ad-lib, improvise in their first Monday sit-down read of their dialogue for their character's role?" McClanahan's response was a matter-of-fact statement to his inquiry! "Not much! Bea Arthur arrived in the rehearsal hall, just sat at the conference table and read her lines. Ditto for Estelle Getty. Betty White and myself would interject comments, and usually, our ad-lib/improv dialogue ideas were noted, accepted by Susan Harris, with our spontaneous line idea interjected into our current script. Bea Arthur performed, reading exactly, what she had been given to say; the same, as well - with Estelle. Betty and myself were usually animated in our dialogue readings, bouncing off with an ad-lib or other flippant dialogue. We all delivered our lines exactly as scripted in our final live television performances. We never improvised in filming. Bea and Estelle were full-filling their acting-job during rehearsals and performances! We were all very professional!".

Personal Quotes (3)

Compassion is the foundation of everything positive, everything good. If you carry the power of compassion to the marketplace and the dinner table, you can make your life really count.
People always ask me if I'm like Blanche. And I say, "Well, Blanche was an oversexed, self-involved, man-crazy, vain Southern belle from Atlanta -- and I'm not from Atlanta!"
[on her religion when asked about it] Yes, I am a Methodist. I have been affiliated with the Methodist church since I was a child and I must say that I simply love it! There are three things in this world that I love; animals, my Golden Girls and being a Methodist. I can't fathom being a member in any other religion than the Methodist church. It is so relaxed and welcoming and you can just be yourself while worshiping with no strings attached. I am very proud to be a member in the Methodist church!

Salary (1)

The Golden Girls (1985) $100,000 (last season)

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